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Full text of "The complete poetic and dramatic works of Robert Browning"

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Bbqtibst of 

Has. JulBS EOHTLBT CAMPBELL 



1 



t 



Lj ^ ^ o 

/ o. o 6 



r 



■-] -7 -^ - ' 






L 1 



THE 
COMPLETE POETIC 

AND 
DRAMATIC T70KKS 



OF 



ROBERT BROWNIHG 



Ccjnbridge Edition 



Boston, New York 

Hougliton, Mifflin & Cooipany 

1895 



1 



/ 









- " e. «. - '•. 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 



I' A (if 

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETrn ix 

PAULINE: A FRAGMENT OF A 

CONFESSION . /g'i'.Z. . 1 

Sokhkt: *^£ts8, gaiji bbszdb thee, 

(LaDT, OOULDflT THOU KNOW I) " . 11 

PARACELSUS. / ? ^/^ 

L Pa&acelbus A8PIre# . . 12 

IL Pahacelsus attains . . 19 

III. Pajracei^us .... 25 

IV. PaBACEIAUS AgPIBES . . 34 

V. Pabacelsus attains .40 

STRAFFORD : A TRAGEDY /^'^7 49 

SORDELLO . A^VP . . . 74 

PIPPA PASSES : A DRAMA ^f"// 128 

KING VICTOR AND KING CHARLES : 

A TRAGEDY . /ir.^Z^ . 145 

DRAMATIC LYRICS. / i' / 

jW Cataueb Tunes. 

"^ -^ IVIabchino Alono . . 168 

^n. Give a Rouse . . .163 

vHli Boot and SaddiiE . . 163 

^Th^ Lost Lsadeb .... 164 

^:*^ow they bbought the Good 

News fbok Ghent to Anc" . 164 
Thbough the Metuxja to Abd- 

el-ELadb 165 

Nationality in Dbinks . . 166 
^yGAKDEN Fancies. 

I. The Floweb's Name . . 166 

n. SiBBANDUS SCHAFNABUBOEN- 

818 167 

v\C^ SOLUJOqUY OF THE SPANISH ClX>IS- 

teb 167 

t-'/THE Labobatoby . . . 168 
v/The Confessional .... 169 

> Cristina 169 

The LoffT Mistbess . . . 170 

£abth*s Immortalities . . 170 

jL *^Meetino at Night .... 170 

t I/PABTINO AT MOENING . . 170 

•f Song : " Nay but you, who do not 

LOVE HEB*' . . . . 170 

a A Woman's L ast W obd . . 171 
JpT"! : . . . 171 



AMONG THE RuiNB 



.'LOVEBS' 



;P AT 

City 



A Villa — Down in the 



be 



QOCATA OF Ga^.ttpt*!^ 



4- 




/•'Ou^ PiCTUBES IN FlOBENCE 
i X ^^ J^^ GUST IBCS — ' ' . 
^ t*fiOME-THOUOHTS, FBOM AbbOAD 

IjL |,^<Home-Thouohtb, fbqm the Sea 

iJ^Saul 

If^-'MX.STAB. . 

t^Bv THE FllUCSIDE 

Any Wife to Any Husband 

yO IN TH ^ (^^jrPA/^jiTA 

onceptions 
A Serenade at the Villa 
One Way of Love . 
Anotheb Way of Love 
A Pbetty Woman . 
'-Respectability . 
^ Lo ve i n _a^ Life 

In Three Day? 
In a Yeab 
Women and Roses . 
Before .... 
Afteb 
v^The Guabdian- Angel 

tRABILIA . 

^ Populabity 

•^Masteb Huoues of Saxe-Gotha 

THE RETURN OB* THE DRUSES 

A BLOT IN THE 'SCUTCHEON 

COLOMBE'S BIRTHDAY . 

DRAMATIC ROMANCES. 

' Incident of the Fbench Camp 

The Patriot 
iJ-My Last Duchess . . 
/ C-ouNT Gismond . 

The Boy and the Angel 

Instans Tybannus 

Mesmerism 
P^-'She Glove . 
. Time's Revenges • 
[>-«The Itall\n in England 



PAOB 

171 
172 



^9 



174 
. 175 

176 
. 178 

179 
. 179 

179 
. 184 

1^ 
. 187 

18t 
'. 18 

189 
. 190 

190 
. 190 

191 - 
. 191 

191 
. 192 

192 

' 193 . 
. 194 

194 
. 195 

19»- 
. 194^ 

197 [\ 

.216 

230 .' 



251 
251 
252 
252 
263 
254 
255 



256. 
25K 
258 



CONTENTS 




IX. On Duck . . . ■ . 3' 
Ookj> Haib : A 'Stobt of Poknic S' 
■ Tbr Worst or It .3 

Db AUTEB Vibck; OB, Lb Btbom 

DB Nob Jodbs . . S 
Too Latk 3J 

It' J-Aan VOOLBE. AFTBB HE HAS BEEN 

. Mn- 



[. iHBTBiniBirT or b 






, . . Bkm Ezha . . . 1 

(A Death ih the Dbbbbt 

r^CriUBAN DPON SKIEBOg ; OB, NaTU- 
BAL Thedloov hi tbb Islahd . 

CoKFEBBIONi I 

Uac and Death .... I 
Deaf and Dumb : a Obout bt 

/WoOLNEB 1 



Edkydice to Obphsdh: a Picture 

Br Leiohtoh . S 

TouTH AMD Abt .... 3 

A Faoe 3 

A Likeness 3 

Hb. SunxiB, "XHB MEDruii" . . 3 
AFPAaSNT Faildbx ... 4 

Epu/iiidb 4 

HE KING AND THE BOOK./<_^ 
L The Rno and the Book . '4 
IL Hau-Romb .4: 

III. The Otheb Half-Rohe 4 

IV. Tbbtiuk Quid , . . 4 
V. Count Quido Francesohini 4' 

~ VL QlUBXPPB Cafonbacchi . 4< 

^vii. PoKPiLtt- a 

VUL Dohinus Hyaointhub db Abch- 



IX. Juris Docttor Johanhbs-Bap- 

TlffTA BOTTINIDS, FiSCI ET 

Rev. Cah. Apostoi. Adto- 

CATUB 640 

X. Thb Pope .... 564 

XL GuiBO 672 

Xll. Tbb Book and the Rinq . 504 : 

Hbuen'b Towkb 601 I 

BALAUSTION-S ADVENTUKE, in- 
CLODiNa A Transcript pros 

EuBJPIDEB . / %.1j . . 602 

ARISTOPHANES' APOLOGY, inchjd- 
vsa A Tranbobii-t pboh Euri- 
pides, BEiNo the Last Advbn- 

TUBB OP BaEAUBTIOH -'t'V-i ■ 628 

PRINCE HOHENSTIEL-SCHWAN- > 
QAU, SAVIOUR OF SOCIETY 881 ', 
FIFINE AT THE FAIR. 

Proloqub . . . . . TOl 

FiFIHE AT THB /aIB . . 702 : 

Efilooue ..... 736 ^ 

\ 



\l 



CONTENTS 



Vll 



BID COTTON NIGHT-CAP COUN-^tT^ 
TRY; OB TURF AND TOWERS 736 

THE INN ALBUM . VS 

PACCHIAROTTO, WITH OTHER 
POEMS. 

Proloous 802 

Or Paochiabotto, a^td how hb 

wobked in dibtempeb . . 802 
At thb '* Mbbmaid " . . .807 

JHouse 80& 

'Shof 809 

Pimah-Sights 810 

FSABS ABI> Sc^UPIiSS . . 811 

Natubai* Magic . . . .811 
Magical Natubb .... 812 

BivuBCATioir 812 

NUMPBOVE^TOS .... 812 
APFB4dCAliCB8 ... . 814 

r's SuMUEB . . 814 

LYB RiBL . • . . . 815 

A FOBOIYENBSS .... 817 

C^orciAJA 820 

FiLIPFO BaIJ>IKU0CI ok THB PbZYI- 
LE6S or BUBIAL 823 

Epilogub 827 

THE AGAMEMNON OF .SSCHTLUS 830 




''77 



849 



LA SATSTAZ 

THE TWO POETS OF «fROISIC A ^; 859 

Oh Lovb ! LoYB 874 

DRAMATIC IDYLS: FIRST SERIES. 

Jf^xruf Relph .... 875 
' tt'HsmiPprDEs 877 

HaiJIBBT AMD HoB . 879 

Ivan Ivauovitch .... 880 

Tbat 887 

Nb]» Bbatto 887 

DRAMATIC IDYLS: SECOND SERIES. 



Pbolooce .... 
echbtlos 

CUYB 

MuLBTKBH . . . . 

PiETKO or Ababo 

DOCTOB .... 

PAir AND LUB A 

Touch bxm bb'eb so uohtlt 

Tbb BiJia> Man to thb Maiden 
GOLDONI 



JOCOSERIA. 

Wanting is — What 9 

DoNAIJ> 

Soix>iiON AND Baucis . 
Cristina and Monai<desohi . 
Mart WoLLSTONBCRArr and 
SBU 

Atia-m^ LnJTH, AND EVB . 

IXIOK 



Fu- 



892 
892 
893 
897 
899 
906 
909 
910 

910 
910 



911 
911 
913 
914 

916 
916 
916 



JOGHANAN HaKKADOSH . . 918 

Never the Time ani^ the Plage 928 
Pambo 928 

FERISHTAH'S FANCIES. 

PBOIiOGUE 929 

I. The Eagle ... 929 

n. The Mblon-Sellbb . . 930 

ni. Shah Abbas ... 930 

IV. The Family . . . ,932 

V. The Sun .... 933 

VI. MiHRAB Shah .934 

VII. A Cauel-Dbivbb 936 

Vni. Two Camels . .937 

IX. Chebbies .... 938 

X. Plot-Cultube . . . 939 

XL A PHiLAB at Sbbzevab . 940 

XIL A Bban-Stbipb : AiiK> Applb- 

Eating .... 942 
Epilogue 946 

Rawdon Bbown 947 

The Foundeb or tbb Fbast . 947 

The Names 947 

Epitaph on Levi Lincoln Thaztbb 947 
Why I am a IiIbbrati .... 948 

PARLEYINGS WITH CERTAIN 
PEOPLE OF IMPORTANCE 
IN THEIR DAY. 

Apollo and the Fates . 948 
With Bebnabd de Mandeville 952 
With Daniel Babtoli . . 955 
With Chbistopheb SmAbt . . 959 
With Geobge Bubb Dodington 961 
With Fbancis Fubini . . 964 
With Gerard de Laibesse . . 970 
With Charles Avison . . 974 
Fust and his Friends : an Epi- 
logue 979 

ASOLANDO : FANCIES AND FACTS. 

Prologue 987 

RosNY 987 

Dubiety 987 

Now 988 

Humility 988 

Poetics 988 

Summum Bonum .... 988 
A Peabl, a Gibl .... 988 
Speculative .... 988 

White WircHCBArT . . . 989 

/Bad Dreams. 1 989 

ABad Dreams. II 989 

/ / /Bad Dreams. III. . . . 990 

f ( Bad Dreams. IV 990 

Inapprehensiveness . . 991 

Which ? 991 

The Cardinal and the Dog 991 

The Pope and the Net . . 992 
The Bean- Feast .... 992 
Muckle-Mouth Meg . . . 993 
Abcades Ambo . . * . 993 



\ 



Vlll 



CONTENTS 



Thb Ladt avd thb PAnrrss . 903 

POHTB DKLL* AkoBLO, VkHICB . 994 

Bbatbiob SiGMORiia . 996 

Flutb-Muoic, with ax AoOQMPAin- 

XBMT 999 

** Imperaittb Auoubto vatub 

EOT — " 1001 

DBYBLOPlOEinP .... 1002 

Rephan 1003 

^BVBBIB 1005 

S^^woQvm 1007 



APPENDDL 

L Ay EiiBAT ON SBEUiBT . 

IL Notes and Iixuotbationb . 
JJL A List of Mb. Bbownino's Po- 

BMB AND DbAXAB, ABBANOBD 
IN the OBDEB of FIB8T PUBU- 
CATION IN BOOK FOBM . 

INDEX OF FIRST LINES OF PO- 
EMS 1027 

GENERAL INDEX OF TITLES . 1031 



1006 
1014 



1023 



i 



/ 






;.-.. . ^.^<j fi, <,C^'^ y .'^y* 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.* 

If one songht to build any genealogical stnioture to aooonnt for Robert Browning's genius, he 
woold find but alight foundation in fact, though what he found would be substantial so far as it 
vent. Browning's father was a bank derk in London ; his father again was a bank clerk. Both 
flC these Brownings were christened Kobert. The father of the poet's grandfather was Thomas 
Brovningi an innkeeper and small proprietor in Dorsetshire, and his stock apparently was west- 
eoontry English. Brownings himself liked to belieye that an earlier ancestor was a certain Captain 
Mieaiah Browning who raised the siege of Derry in 1689 by an act of personal bravery which cost 
lum his life. It is most to the point that Browning was London bom with two generations of city 
Londonen behind him. His mother was Sarah Anne — a name which became Sarianna in the poet's 
nter — Wiedemann, the Scottish daughter of a Hamburg German, a shipowner in Dundee. 

The characters of the poet's parents are clearly defined. Robert Browning, senior, was a man 
of business who performed his business duties punctiliously, and by frugality acquired a tolerably 
oomfortaUe fortune, but he was not a money-making man ; his real life was in his books and in the 
giatHiiartiqn of literary and SBsthetic tastes. He was a Toradous reader, and in a prudent way a 
book and porint collector. " It was lus habit," says BIrs. Orr, ** when he bought a book — which 
vas generally an old one allowinjg^ of this addition — to haye some pages of blank paper bound into 
it. These he filled with notes, chronological tables, or such other supplementary matter as would 
enhanee the interest, or assist the mastering, of its contents : all written in a clear and firm^ though 
ly DO means formal, handwriting." He had a talent for yersifying which he used for his enter- 
tsimnent ; he had a cheerful nature and that genuine sociability which made him a delightful oom- 
paiion in the small cirde which satisfied his simple, ingenuous nature. He was bom and bred in 
the Cfanreh of England, but in middle life became by choice a Dissenter, though neyer an ezdusiye 



Mrs. Browning, the poet's mother, was once described by Garlyle as ** the true type of a Scottish 
gentlewoman." She inherited from her father a love for music and drawing which in him was 
manifested in execution, in her in good taste and appreciation. She was a woman of serene, gentle 
and affectionate nature, and of simple, earnest religious belief. She was brought up in the kirk 
of Scotland, but, like her husband, connected herself in middle life with the Gongrogationalists. 
3ie eommunicated of her own religious conviction to her children ; it is said that she handed down 
ako a nervons organization. 

Of these parents Robert Browning was bom in the parish of St. Giles, Camberwell, London, May 
7, 1812. He was the oldest of the small family, having two sisters, one, Clara, who died in child- 
hood, and Sarianna, two years younger than himself, who outlived him. The country in which he 
vas bom and where he spent his childhood has been delightfully described by his great contempo- 
ary, Rnskxn, whose Heme Hill was in the immediate neighborhood. Camberwell at that time 
VBs a snborb of London, with rural spaces and near access to the open country, though the stony 
loot of the metropolis was already stepping outward ui>on the pleasant lanes and fields. There 
vas room for gardening and the keeping of pets, while the country gave opportunity for forays into 
■stuie's feurtnesses. The boy kept owls and monkeys, magpies and hedgehogs, an eagle, snakes 
eren, and was touched with the collector's pride, as when he started a collection of rare creatures 
vith a couple of lady-birds brought home one winter day and placed in a box lined with cotton 

* The materialB for this sketch are drawn from Mrs. Sutherhuid Orr's lA^ft and Letters of Bobert Brotming, Mr. 
I WiOian 8bBip*s Life ef Bobert Browning ^ and Mr. Bdmund Gosse's Bobert Browning : Personalia. 



\ 



ik 



ROBERT BROWNING 



wool and labelled, " Animals found surviving in the depths of a severe winter." It is easy for a 
reader of his poems to detect the olose, sympathetic observation which he disclosed for all lower 
life. 

Indeed the characteristics of his mind as seen in his writings afterward were readily disclosed in 
the evidence which remains to us of his boyhood. He was insatiably curious and he was imaginar 
tively dramatic, and he had from the first the sane and generous aid of his parents in both theso 
particulars. His father was passionately fond of children, and gave his own that best of gifts, 
appreciative companionship. " He was fond," says Mr. Sharp in his Life qf Browning ^ " of taking 
the little Robert in his arms and walking to and fro with him in the dusk in * the library,' soothing 
the duld to sleep by singing to him snatches of Anacreon in the original to a favorite old tune of 
his, * A Cottage in a Wood ; ' *' and again the same biographer says : ** One of his own [Robertas] 
recollections was that of sitting on his father's knees in the library, and listening with enthralled 
attention to the Tale of Troy, with marvellous illustrations among the glowing coals in the fir^ 
place ; with, below all, the vaguely heard accompaniment — from the neighboring room, where Mrs. 
Browning sat * in her chief happiness, her hour of darkness and solitude and music ' — of a wild 
Gaelic lament, with its insistent falling cadences." 

The boy had an indifferent experience of formal schooling in his youth. The more fertilising 
influence of his intellectual taste was found in his father's books. As has been said, his father 
had an intelligent and cultivated love of books, and eagerly shared his knowledge and his treasures 
with his boy. A seventeenth century edition of Quarles's EmUems, the first edition of Rob- 
inson Crusoe^ an early edition of Milton, bought for him by his father, old Bibles, a wide range of 
Elizabethan literature — these were pastures in which the boy browsed. Besides, he knew the 
eighteenth century writers, Walpole, Junius, and even Voltaire being included by the catholio 
minded father. The special acquaintance with Gbeek came later, but Latin he began early. 

His attendance at school ceased when he was fourteen, then came four years of private tutors, 
and at eighteen he was matriculated at London University, ^h6re he spent two years. In this 
period of private and public tuition, his scope was widening with systematic intent. He learned 
dancing, riding, boxing and fencing. He became versed in fVench. He visited galleries, and 
made some progress in drawing, especially from casts. He studied music with able teachers. He 
had a stroi^ interest in the stage, and displayed on occasions a good deal of histrionic ability him- 
self. 

It is said that in this growing, restless period, when indeed he had the wilfulness and aggressive- 
ness of the young man who has the consciousness of inner power, but not yet the mastery either of 
art or of himself, it was an open question with him whether he should be poet, painter, sculptor 
or musician ; an artist at any rate he knew he must be. To that all his being moved, and in his 
youth he manifested that temperament, by alternation dreamy and dramatic, which under favor- 
ing conditions is the background from which artistic possibilities are projected. From the vantage 
ground of a wooded spot near his home he could look out on the distant city lying on the western 
horizon, and fretting the evening sky with its spires and towers and ragged lines. The sight for 
him had a great fascination. Here would he lie for hours, looking and dreaming, and he has told 
how one night of his boyhood he stole out to these elms and saw the great city glimmering through 
the darkness. After all, the vision was more to him than that which brought woods and fields 
beneath his ken. It was the world of men and women, toward which his gaze was directed all his 
life. 

In Browning's case, as in that of more than one recent poet, it is possible to see a very distinct 
passing of the torch into his hand from that of a great predecessor. He had versified from child- 
hood. He would scarcely have been his father's child had he not. His sister remembers that when 
he was a very little child he would walk round and round the dining-room table, spanning the 
table with his palm as he marked off the scansion of the verses he had composed. Even before 
this rhyme had been put into his hands as an instrument, for his father had taught him words by 
their rhymes, and aided his memorizing of Latin declensions in the same way. So the boy lisped 
in numbers, for the numbers came, and by the time he was twelve had accumulated a formidable 
amount of matter, chiefly B3rronic in manner. With the confidence of the very youthful poet, he tried 
to find a publisher who would venture on the issue. He could not find one who would put his verses 






BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH xi 

mto ptint, but he found one of another sort in hiB mother, who read them with pride and showed 
tliem to her friends. Thus they fell into the hands of Miss Flower, who showed them to her sis- 
ter, Sarah Flower Adams, whose name is firmly held in hymnoldgies, and with her appreciation 
diowed them also to the Roy. William Johnson Fox, who as preacher, editor, and man of letters 
had a tolerably distinct position which has not yet been forgotten. Mr. Fox read and was em- 
phatic in hia recognition of promise, bnt with good sense adyised against any attempt to get the 
hook into print. Book it was in mannsoript, and this was the publication it reoeiyed. like 
other first yentnrea, its audience was fit though few, and as will be seen later. Browning gained 
the best thing that firot yentures are likely to bring, a generous critic. 

Bnt shortly after this came the real fructifying of the poetic germ which lay in this youthful 
natne. ** Passing a bookstall one day," says Mr. Sharp, " he saw, in a box of second-hand yol- 
mnea, a littie book adyertised as *' Mr. Shelley's Atheistical Poem: yery scarce.' He had neyer 
heard of SheUey, nor did he leam for a long time that the DcBtnon of the World and the miscella- 
neoas poems appended thereto constituted a literary piracy. Badly printed, shamefully muti- 
lated, these discarded blossoms touched him to a new emotion. Pope became further remoyed 
than eyer : Byron, eyen, lost his magnetic supremacy. * From yague remarks in reply to his inqui- 
nes, and from one or two casual allusions, he learned that there really was a poet called Shelley; 
that he had written seyeral yolumes 7 that he was dead." His mother set herself to search for 
nuire of Shelley for her son, and after recourse to Mr. Fox, made her way to the Olliers in Vere 
Street, and brought back not only a collection of SheUey's yolumes, but of Keats's also, and thus 
these two poets fell into Browning's hands. 

It was on a May night. Browning tol^ a friend, he entered upon this hitherto unknown world. 
In a laburnum near by, and in a great cojpper beech not far away, two nightingales sang tt^ether. 
So he sat and listened to them, and read by turns from these two poets. It was his initiation into 
the same society. He did not at once join them, but when he made his first appearance in public, 
at the age of twenty, it was with a poem, Pavline^ which not only held a glowing apostrophe to 
Shelley but was throughout colored by his ardent deyotion to the poet. Twenty yeus later he 
wrote a prose apologia for SheUey in the form of an introduction to a collection of letters purport- 
ing to come from l^eUey, but which were discoyered to be spurious immediately upon publication. 
Both Pauline and an Essay on Percy Bysshe Shelley will be found in this yolume, with introduo- 
tioDB explaining the circumstances of publication, but the reader of Browning's poetry is likely to 
carry longest in his mind the short lyric Memorabilia^ beginning : — 

" Ah, did you once see Shelley plain," 

in which as in a parable one may read how the sudden acquaintance with this poet was to Brown- 
ing the one memorable moment in his period of youthful dreaming. 

The publication anonymously of Pauline, in January, 1833, was followed by a period of trayel. 
He went to Rusda nominally as secretary to the Russian consul-general, and became so enamored 
of diplomatic life that he essayed to enter it, but failed ; so strong a hold did it take on him that 
he would haye been glad in later life if his son had chosen this career. 

The life of a poet who is not also a man of action is told mainly in the succession of his writings. 
Two or three sonnets followed Pauline, but the first poem to which Browning attached his name 
was Paracelsus J the dedication 'to which is dated March 15, 1835. The dedication — and the snc- 
ceasion of these graceful compliments discloses many of Browning's friendships — was to Count 
de Ripert-Monclar, a young French royalist, who was a priyate agent of the royal family, and had 
become intimate with the poet, who was four years his junior. The coimt suggested the life of 
Paracelsus to his friend as a subject for a poem, but on second thought adyised against it as o£Pering 
insnffiaent materials for the treatment of loye. A young poet, howeyer, who wotdd prefix a quota- 
tion from Cornelius Agrippa to his first publication was one easily to be enticed by such a subject, 
and Browning fell upon the literature relating to Paracelsus which he found in the British Museum, 
and quickly mastered the facts, which became fused by his ardent imagination and eager specula- 
tion into a consistent whole. But though he sought his material among books, as he needs must, 
he found his oonstructiye power in the silence of nature in the night. He had a great loye for 
walking in the dark. "There was in particular," says Mr. Sharp, "a wood near Dulwich, 



xii ROBERT BROWNING 



whither he was wont to go. There he would walk swiftly and eagerly alpng the solitary uid 
lightless byways, finding a potent stimulus to imaginatiye thought in the happy isolation thus 
enjoyed. ... At this time, too, he composed much in the oi>en air. This he rarely, if ever, did in. 
later life. Not only many portions of Paracelsus but seyeral scenes in Strcffford were enacted 
first in these midnight silences of the Dulwich woodland. Here, too, as the poet once declared, 
he came to know the serene beauty of dawn : for every now and again, after haying read late, or 
written long, he would steal quietly from the house, and walk till the morning twUight graded to 
the pearl and amber of the new day." 

Poetry, it may be, more than any other form of literature, dears the way for friendship. At 
any rate, Paracelsus introduced Browning to John Forster, and it was at this time also that Dick- 
ens, Talfourd and Macready, Leigh Hunt, Barry Cornwall, Wordsworth and Landor were more 
than names to the young poet. There was doubtle;^ something in the man as well as in his work 
which won him recognition. Macready says he looked more the poet than any man he had ever 
met. His head was crowned with wavy dark brown hair. He had singrularly expressive eyes, a 
sensitive, mobUe mouth, a musical voice, and an alertness of manner, so that he was like a quiver- 
ing, high bred animal. How marked he was by his companions, and singled out to be, as Macready 
says, " a leading spirit of his time," is instanced by a notable occurrence at Talfourd's house after 
the first performance of lon^ when Talfourd included Browning with Wordsworth and Landor, 
who were present, in«a toast to the poets of England. 

It was on this occasion that Macready, whom Browning already knew well, proposed to the poet 
that he should write him a play as narrated in the Introduction to Strcffford, Hie play was pro- 
duced at the Govent Garden Theatre in May, 1837, and Macready and Mias Helen Faucit, after- 
ward Lady Martin, gave distinction to its representation. It came, however, 'at an unfortunate 
time in the management, and though it gave promise of a long run, certain difficulties in the 
theatre compelled its withdrawal.. It was published at once by Longmans, but like Browning's 
former book, was a failure with the public. 

The monologue of Pauline had been succeeded by what may be called the conversational drama 
of ParacelsuSf and that by the dramatic Strafford, The form now experimented with was to be 
the dominant one for tilie next ten years, though his next attempt was in form almost a reversion to 
Pauline. During the remainder of 1837 and until Plaster, 1838, Browning was engaged on Sor- 
dello^ but interrupted this poem for a couple of years which have a special interest as the years 
when he first visited Italy, and when he entered upon an order of production which was to be very- 
significant of his poetic choice of subject and treatment. Browning himself recognized the impor- 
tance to him of his acquaintance with Italy. " It was my university,'^ he was wont to say, when 
asked if he had been a student at Oxford or Cambridge. The companion poems, 77ie English- 
man in Italy and The Italian in England, illustrate that double nationality in Browning's mind by 
which the two countries were, so to speak, married for him. The latter of these two poems was 
one which Mazzini used to read to his countrymen when he would demonstrate how generously 
an Englishman could enter into the Italian's patriotic aspirations. The journey was a rapid one. 
*' I went," Browning says, ** to Trieste, then Venice — then through Treviso and Bassano to the 
mountains, delicious Asolo, all my places and castles, you will see. Then to Vicenza, Padua, 
and Venice again. Then to Verona, Trent, Innspruck, Munich, Salzburg in Franconia, Frank- 
fort and Mayence ; down the Rhine to Cologne, then to Aix-la-Chapelle, Si^ and Antwerp ; then 
home." 

It would seem as if he had begun Sordello with a bookish knowledge only of Italy, and later 
ohaiged it with a more informing spirit of love for that country and embroidered it with descriptive 
scenes drawn from his personal observation. The poem was published in 1840, but the result of 
the journey in Italy and of the i>oet's more complete finding of himself — a process by the bye 
which may almost be taken as having its analc^fue in Sordello — were made most evident by the 
next publication, the story of which is told in the Introduction to Pippa Passes, The very form 
chosen for Bells and Pomegranates was a challenge to the public not so fantastically arrogant as 
Home's famous publication of Orion at a farthing, but noticeable as an earnest of Browning's 
appeal to his generation and not to a select circle of admiring friends. In this series of writings, 
extending £com 1841 through 1846, Browning struck the note agsun and again, in drama, lyric, and 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH xiii 

rananee, which was to be the dominant note of his poetry, that disolosure of the soul of man in 
an manner of circnin stances, as iE the world were to the poet a great laboratory of souls, and he 
VM forever to be engaged in solving, dissolving, and resolving the elements. 

It is notioeable also that with this series <dosed Browning's serious attempts at dramatic compoai- 
tioD for the stage. It wonld almost seem as if he finally parted company with theatrical manar 
gen, partly because of the constant difficulty he had in making them subordinate to his pnrpote, 
partly and no doubt more profoundly because his own genius, bent as it was upon the interpretar 
tun of spiritual phenomena, could ill brook the denuinds of the acted drama that all this interpre- 
tation should stop with visible, intelligible, and satisfactory action, capable of histrionic expression. 
Browning's eager penetration of the arcana of life was too absorbing to permit him to call a halt 
wiien the actor on the stage could go no farther. 

An example of the practical difficulties he encountered with managers will be found in the 
ridsBitadea of A Blot in the ^Scutcheon, which was put on the stage in 1843 and formed the fifth in 
the series of Sdl^ and Pomegranates. Browning has himself told the story of his misfortunes so 
IsDj and so graphically in a letter to Mr. Frank Hill, editor of the London Daily NewSy forty 
years after the event, that it seems worth while to introduce it here. The letter, from which the 
fbflowing passage is taken, was dated 19, Warwick Crescent, December 15, 1884 ; and was written 
in cooseqpieiiee of a paragraph concerning the revival of the play, which Mr. Hill had sent in proof 
to Browning, from a doubt he felt of its accuracy : — 

^'liacready received and accepted the play, while he was engaged at the Haymarket, and re- 
tuned it for Drury Lane, of which I was ignorant that he was about to become the manager ; he 
accepted it * at the instigation' of nobody, — and Charles Dickens was not in England when he 
£d so : it was read to him after his return by Forster — and the glowing letter which contains his 
opinion of it, although directed by him to be shown to myself, was never heard of nor seen by me 
tin printed in Forster's book some thirty years after. When the Drury Lane season began, Mao* 
ready informed me that he should act the play when he had brought out two others — The 
Pabridan^s Daughter^ and Plighted Troth. Having done so, he wrote to me that the former 
had been unsuccessful in money-drawing, and the latter had * smashed his arrangements alto- 
gether,' but he would still produce my play. I had — in my ignorance of certain symptoms better 
imderstood by Macready's professional acquaintances — no notion that it was a proper thing, in 
neh a case, to *' release him from his promise ; ' on the contrary, I should have fancied that such 
a proposal was offensive. Soon after, Maoready beggec^ that I would call on him ; he said tilie play 
had been read to the actors the day before, and * laughed at from beginning to end ; ' on my 
^peaking my mind about this, he exphuned that the reading had been done by the prompter, a 
grotesque person with a red nose and wooden leg, ill at ease in the love scenes, and that he would 
himaelf make amends by reading the play next morning — which he did, and very adequately — 
bat apprised me that, in consequence of the state of his mind, harassed by business and various 
trouble, the principal character must be taken by Mr. Phelps ; and again I failed to understand — 
what Forster subsequently assured me was plain as the sun at noonday — that to allow at Mac- 
ready's theatre any other than Macready to play the principal part in a new piece was suicidal, — 
and really believed I was meeting his exigencies by accepting the substitution. At the rehearsal, 
ICacready announced that Mr. Phelps was ill, and that he himself would read the part ; on the 
third rehearsal, Mr. Phelps appeared for the first time, and sat in a chair while Macready more 
than read — rehearsed the part. The next morning Mr. Phelps waylaid me at the stage-floor to say, 
vith much emotion, that it never was intended that he should be instrumental in the success of a 
new tragedy, and that Macready would play Tresham on the ground that himself, Phelps, was 
miahle to do so. He added that he could not expect me to waive such an advantage, but that, if I 
were prepared to waive it, * he would take ether, sit up all night, and have the words in his mem- 
ory by next day.' I bade him follow me to the green-room, and hear what I decided upon — 
vhicfa was tJiat as Macready had given him the part, he should keep it : this was on a Thursday ; 
be rehearsed on Friday and Saturday, — the play being acted the same evening, — qf thejifih day 
^fler the * reading ' by Macready, Macready at once wished to reduce the importance of the * play ' — 
IS he styled it in the bills, — tried to leave out so much of the text that I baffled him by get- 
tag it pncmted in f omMUid-twenty hours, by Moxon's assistance. He wanted me to call it The 



XIV ROBERT BROWNING 



Sister ! and I haye before me, while I write, the stage-«etuig copy, with two lines of his own in- 
sertion to avoid the trafirical ending— Tresham was to announce his intention of going into a 
monastery I all this, to keep up the belief that Macready, and Macready alone, oould produce 
a veritable ^ tragedy,' unproduoed before. Not a shilling was spent od scenery or dresses, and a . 
striking scene which had been nsed for The PatriciatCs Daughter did duty a second time. If 
yonr critic considers this treatment of the play an instance of * the failure of powerful and ex* 
perienoed actors ' to ensure its success, I can only say that my own opinion was shown by at onoe 
breaking off a friendship of many years — a friendship which had a right to be plainly and mmply 
told that the play I had contributed as a proof of it would, through a change of circumstances, no 
longer be to my friend's advantage — all I could possibly care for. Only recently, when by the 
publication of Macready's journals the extent of his pecuniary embarrassments at that time was 
made known, could I in a measure understand his motives for such conduct, and less than ever 
understand why he so strangely disguised and disfigured them. If * applause ' meant success, the 
play thus maimed and maltreated was successful enough ; it * made way ' for Macready's own 
Benefit, and the theatre closed a fortnight after." 

Of the more profound separation between Browning and the theatre, due to'the inherent imposai- 
bility of his arresting his thought before it got beyond the actor's use, Luria and The Return of the 
Druses afford good examples, and an illustration might fairly be taken from Colomhe's Birthday^ 
which was put on the stage in 1853, but scarcely held its own, though Helen Faucit took the 
heroine's part, and, when revived forty years after, was so out and slashed that though. the splen- 
did idea of Valence was retained in situation, the delicate, subtle shadows which passed and re- 
passed before the reader's mind were wanting. 

The period when Browning was writing his dramas was one of spendthrift enjoyment of life. For 
it was a time not only of work in the British Museum and of excursions into all sorts of remote 
fields of literature, but of long rambles, half gypsy experiences, hours when, stretched at fulllengrth. 
beneath the sky, he made familiar and minute acquaintance with bird and leaf, insect and snail, 
the wind in the trees, the search for the northwest passage of argosies of clouds. He pursued all 
manner of interests which absorbed him for the moment ; he was living, in short, that abundant 
life which was reflected later in multitudinous dramatic assumptions. 

Then all at once there came a concentration of his passion and a sudden revelation to him which 
never lost its wondrous light. Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning, knowing each other throng^h 
their writings, then by a common service (o a common friend, then by an intermittent correspond- 
ence, finally were brought together by John Kenyon, already a dear friend of each. The fragfile 
creature, scarce able to leave her couch, and the robust, exuberantly vital man, were as far separate 
in external, superficial agreement as could well be, but each knew the other with an instantaneous- 
ness of knowlec^ and need. Again and again, not only in verses directed openly to his wife, but 
in those which like By the Fireside thinly veil personal feeling, the passionate constancy of this ex- 
perimenting, daringly inquisitive poet towards his poet wife is splendidly disclosed, with a certain 
glory of frank confession which is the vehement sincerity of one who is in this one feeling gennine 
poet and genuine man. 

Miss Barrett was an invalid, guarded with the greatest care, and Browning, in urging marriage 
upon her, met with all the obstacles which the circumstances raised. He confronted indeed the 
indomitable refusal of Miss Barrett's father. A physician had held out hopes that a removal to 
Italy would give the invalid a chance to regain some degree of health, but Mr. Barrett, for some 
not very clear reason, refused his consent to her taking tiie journey with her brother. It was then 
that Browning, who can readily be conceived of as a masterful man, won Miss Barrett's consent to 
a sudden and clandestine marriage, and a journey to Italy as his wife. *' When she had finally 
assented to this course," writes Mrs. Orr, ^^ she took a preparatory step which, in so far as it ^was 
known, must itself have been sufficiently startiing to those about her ; she drove to Regent's Parle, 
and when there, stepped out of the carriage and on to the grass. I do not know how long she 
stood — probably only for a moment ; but I weU remember hearing that when, after so long an 
interval, she felt earth under her feet and air about her, the sensation was almost bewilderingly 
strange." 

They were married September 12, 1846. She would not entaoigle Mr. Kenyon or any of her 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH xv 

friends by annoiuiciiig even her engagement ; she preferred marrying without her father's know- 
ledge, to manying against his prohibition, for a week the husband and wife did not see each 
other. Then they met by agreement and went to Paris. Mr. Barrett never forgave his daughter, 
lot the eonstemation with which the Browning family heard of the event quickly turned to affec- 
tkmate regard for the frail wife. So far as Mrs. Browning's physical well-being was concerned, it 
ii dear that the marriage gave her a new lease of life ; and what seemed at the moment an 
ndaeious takings of fate into their own hands proved to be a case where nature obtained her best 
of both. 

From Paris, by slow stages, they passed through France into Italy, and made their first long 
halt in Pisa. It was here, we are told, that Mn. Browning showed to her husband iif manuscript 
thoK Sonnetg/rom the Portuguese which were her offering to him out of the darkneM of her cham- 
ber. From Pisa they went to Florence, to Anoona, and again back to Florence, where at last they 
obtsined a foothold in the old palace called Casa Guidi, a name to be endeared to the readers of 
Mn. Browning's poetry. Mr. Qeorge S. Hillard, in his Six Months in Italyy gives a pleasant ao- 
eooBt of the Brownings when he met them in Florence in 1847. 

'* It is well for the traveller to be chary of names. It is an ungrateful return for hospitable 
attentions to print the conversation of your host, or describe his person, or give an inventory of his 
f i uniture , or prodaim how his wife and daug^hters were dressed. But I trust I may be pardoned 
if I state that one of my most delightful associations with Florence arises from the fact that here 
I made the acquaintance of Robert and Elizabeth Browning. These are even more familiar 
Bsmeg in America than in England, and their poetry is probably more read, and better under- 
stood with us than among their own countrymen. A happier home and a more perfect union than 
theirs it is not easj to imagine ; and this completeness arises not only from the rare qualities 
wUch each iMnsesses, but from their adaptation to each other. Browning's conversation is like the 
poetry of Chancer, or like his own, simplified and made transparent. His countenance is so full 
ol vigor, freshness, and refined power, that it seems impossible to think that he can ever grow old. 
'Sob poetry is subtle, passionate, and profound ; but he himself is simple, natural, and playful. 
He has the repose of a man who has lived much in the open air ; with no nervous uneasiness and no 
nnhealthy self-oonsoiousness. Mrs. Browning is in many respects the correlative of her husband. 
As be is full of manly power, so she is a type of the most sensitive and delicate womanhood. She 
bss been a great sufferer from ill-health, and the marks of pain are stamped upon her person and 
manner. Her figure is slight, her countenance expressive of genius and sensibility, shaded by a 
vol of long brown locks ; and her tremulous voice often flatters over her words, like the flame of 
a dying candle over the wick. I have never seen a human frame which seemed so nearly a trans- 
parent veil for a celestial and immortal spirit. She is a soul of fire enclosed in a shell of pearl. 
Her rare and fine genius needs no setting forth at my hands. She is also, what is not so generally 
known, a woman of uncommon, nay, profound learning, even measured by a masculine standard. 
Nor is she more remarkable for genius and learning, than for sweetness of temper, tenderness of 
heart, depth of feeling, and purity of spirit. It is a privilege to know such beings singly and 8ep« 
arstdy, but to see their powers quickened, and their happiness rounded, by the sacred tie of mar- 
riage, is a cause for peculiar and lasting gratitude. A union so complete as theirs — in which the 
mind has nothing to crave nor the heart to sigh for — is cordial to behold and something to 
remember." 

Daring the fifteen years of their nutrried life the Brownings lived for the most part in Italy, 
vith occasional summers in England and long sojourns in Paris. The record of Browning^s pro- 
ductions during this period is mea^^e, if one regards the fulness of his poetic activity both before 
and after. The explanation is made that these new responsibilities, — for two sons were bom to 
tfaem, one of whom died, — carried also great anxieties, for the frailty of Mrs. Browning's health 
was a ooostant factor in the movements of the household. But though the record is meagre as to 
foantity, lovers of Browning's poetry would be likely to regard this as not only a central period, 
throBologically, but the period when he reached his highest expression. The first collected edi- 
tion of his poems appeared in 1849, to be followed the next year by Christmas-Eve aud Easter- 
hag^ and then, five years after that, in 18o5, by Men and Women^ a group of poems which still 
the flower of Browning's genius. 



xvi ROBERT BROWNING 



The great range taken by these poems is a intneas to the fecundity and yersatility of Brown- 
ing's genius. It is possible, also, that to the drcnmstanoes of his life, especially its beautiful dis- 
tractions, we owe the fact of a multitude of short poems rather than longer^ustained efforts. 
While Mrs. Browning, sheltered by the constant care exerted by her husband and stimulated by 
his companionship, composed her longest work, Aurora Leigh, he, neyer long freed from anzioas 
thought, broke into more fragmentary production. A very good illustration of the alacrity of his 
mind and the instantaneous power of seizing upon opportunity is given in a passage in Mr. 
Go9se*s Personalia : — 

*^ In recounting a story of some Tuscan noblemen who had shown him two exquisite miniature- 
paintings, the work of a young artist who should have received for them the prize in some local 
contest, and who, being unjustly defrauded, broke his ivories, burned his brushes, and indignantiy 
foreswore the thankless art forever, Mr. Browning suddenly reflected that there was, as he said, 
* stuff for a poem ' in that story, and immediately with extreme vivacity began to sketch the 
form it should take, the suppression of what features and tiie substitution of what others were 
needful ; and finally suggested the non-obvious or inverted moral of the whole, in which the act of 
spirited defiance was shown to be, really, an act of tame renunciation, the poverty of the artist's 
spirit being proved in his eagerness to snatch, even though it was by honest merit, a benefit simply 
material. The poet said, distinctly, that he had never before reflected on this incident as one 
proper to be versified ; the speed, therefore, with which the creative architect laid the founda- 
tions, built the main fabric, and even put on the domes and pinnacles of his poem was, no doubt, 
of unconmion interest. He left it, in five minutes, needing nothing but the mere outward crust 
of the versification." 

It was an incident in Browning's life that when he was producing his most glorious work and 
receiving the admiration and intelligent appreciation of his poetical wife, he was a very insig*- 
nificant figure in English literature of the day. Mrs. Browning was indignant over the neglect 
her husband suffered, and in her letters drew sharp comparison between the attention paid 
Browning in America and the neglect he received in England. Meanwhile, whether living in 
Florence or sojourning in Paris or London, a choice company was always to be found welcoming 
and honoring the two poets. Mr. and Mrs. Story, the Hawthomes, Cardinal Manning, Massimo 
d'Azeglio, Sir Frederick Leighton, Mr. Odo Russell, Rossetti, Val Prinsep, Forster, Landor, 
Fanny Kemble, — these are some of the names closely associated with that of the Brownings in 
this period. 

The death of Mrs. Browning, June 29, 1861, dosed this most beautiful human companionship. 
It made also a great change in Browning's habit of life, and no doubt affected in important ways 
his poetical productiveness. He left Italy for England. He became absorbed, so far as personal 
responsibilities went, in the education of his son. By some strange caprice, he chose to make his 
home in an ugly part of London, and he approached it through a region of disorder and squalor. 
But he also, with his robust nature, denied himself the luxury of a persistent solitariness, and lit- 
tie by little returned to society, especially grateful for the friendship of women like Miss Isa Blag- 
den, who stepped in at the moment of his descent into the valley of grief with their gentle minis- 
trations. 

The months that followed Mrs. Browning's death were in a way given to taking up again 
dropped threads of work, and to intellectual occupations, which both satisfied and stimulated his 
nature. He read Euripides again, perhaps in part because of the association in his mind with his 
wife's scholarly interests. He resumed the poems on which he had been engaged in the last 
months at Casa Quidi, and he pondered over his magnum opus, the germ of which had been in his 
mind for many months. But first, in 1863, he saw through the press a new and complete coUeo- 
tion of his i)oetical works in three volumes. Then, the year following, he gathered the poems 
which immediately preceded and followed Mrs. Browning's death into the volume of Dramatis 
PersonoB, The reissue of his older poems and this new accession were accompanied by a clear re- 
enforcement of hk position as an English poet. He had come, too, to the point where volumes of 
selections from his work were in demand, a pretty good sign of a widening of his audience. Other 
signs followed. In 1867 he received the honorary degree of M. A. from the University of Oxford, 
and a few months later was made honorary fellow of Balliol College. In the year foUowing he 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH xvii 

asked to stand for the Lord Reotorahip of the University of St. Andrews, rendered vacant by 
Ihe death of J. S. Mm. 

His mother had died in 1849, and in 1866 his father, who had been one of his most constant com- 
panions since his wife's death, died also. Thereafter, he and his sister Sarianna, who had inssed 
a life of devotion to their parents, became inseparable. Though England was their home, they 
spent many summers in Brittany, as his poems indicate, and now and then returned to Italy, where 
his am was established finally as a piunter. 

in 1868 aiipeaied the six volume uniform edition of his poems, and immediately afterward began 
the publication, to be completed in four volumes, of The Ring and the Bock, Mrs. Orr traces, in 
an ingenioos manner, the influence which Mrs. Browning*8 personality had in the conception of 
Pompilia in this poem. However much a srngle character may have been affected, it is easy to 
believe that this elaborate construction building in Browning's mind during the closing y^ars 
111 hb wife's life and actually brought into existence in the years immediately following was, 
more than any single work, a great monument which the poet raised to the memory of that com- 
panion whose own poetic achievement always seemed to him of a higher worth than his own. 
^^Ihe simple truth is," he wrote to a conunon friend, " that she was the poet and I the clever per- 
aon by comparison : remember her limited experience of all kinds, and what she made of it. 
Remember, on the other hand, how my uninterrupted health and strength and practice with the 
mtM, have helped me.*' 

After The Ring and the Book the only new departure, so to speak, of Browning's genius was in 
the group of poems which were built upon the foundation of Greek poetry. In 1871 appeared 
BalaustUnCs Adventure, in 1875 Aristophanes' Apology, and in 1877 The Agamemnon qf^schjflus. 
They have their value as expressive of Browning's catholicity, and more particularly as his one 
great literary feat. With all his interest in Italy, and his delving in Renaissance literature, there 
can seareely be said to be any criticism of Italian literature in the form of his own poetry. In like 
manner his dramatic works are not, except in a very remote or general sense, criticism of the 
Elizabethan drama. But his three poems above named do represent the thought and criticism 
of a Gothic mind confronting and admiring the Greek art and thought. Browning in these works 
h not a reproducer in his own terms of Grreek life ; he is a poet of varied exi>erience, who, coming 
in oootaet with a great and distinct manifestation of human life, is moved to strike in here also 
with his thought and fancy, and because of the very elemental nature of the material, to find the 
keenest delight in exerciBing his genius upon it. 

Meanwhile the facility which his long and varied practice with the English language had brought 
him made every new subject that appealed to him a plaything for his fertile imagination; and the 
speculative temper which grew upon him as the maturity of experience enlarged and enriched his 
material for thought, led him into long and tortuous ways. The Ring and the Book stands about 
midvay in the bulk of his work, but whereas all the poetry and drama before that work repre- 
sent thirty-five years of his life, that which follows, nearly as great in amount, represents but 
twenty yean. 

In iheaa last years of his life, when fame had come to him and his versatility made him a ready 
oompamon, he led a semi-public life. He was in demand in all directions. As Mr. Sharp has 
rapidly summed it up : " Everybody wished him to come and dine ; and he did his utmost to 
gratify everybody. He said everything ; read all the notable books ; kept himself acquiunted with 
the leading contents of the journals and magasdnes ; conducted a large correspondence ; read new 
French, German, and Italian books of mark ; read and translated Euripides and iSlschylus ; knew 
all the gossip of the literary clubs, salons, and the studios ; was a frequenter of afternoon-tea par- 
ties ; and then, over and above it, he was Browning : the most profoundly subtie mind that has 
exercised itself in poetry since Shakespeare." 

In 1881 was founded the English Browning Society, one of the most singular testimonials to the 
interest awakened by a contemporaneous poet known in literary history. The great mass of his 
writings, the recondite nature of some of the material which he had used, but more than all, the 
aitounding variety of problems in human life and character which he had presented and either 
tolred or opened the way to solve, made Browning an object of the greatest interest to the curi- 
•Bt, the sympathetic, and the restiess of his day. Any such movement has on its edge a frayed 



xviii ROBERT BROWNING 



sort of membership, but no one can note the names of members or read the oommonications vhich. 
appear in the society's proceedings without recognizing the* intelleotoal ability that carried the 
movement along. Browning's own attitude toward the society ia pretty clearly expressed in 
the following words which he wrote to Mr. Edmund Yates at the time of the society's f oim<> 
dation : — 

^^ The Browning Society, I need not say, as well as Browning himself, are fair game for csriti- 
cism. I had no more to do with the founding it than the babe unborn ; and, as Wilkes was no 
Wilkesite, I am quite other than a Browuingite. But I cannot wish harm to a society of, with a 
few exceptions, names unknown to me, who are busied about my books so disinterestedly. The 
exaggerations probably come of the fifty-years'-long charge of unintelligibility against my books ; 
such reactions are possible, though I never looked for the beginning of one so soon. That there is 
a grotesque side to the thing is certain ; but I have been surprised and touched by what cannot bat 
have been well intentioned, I think. Anyhow, as I never felt inconvenienced by hard words, yoa 
will not expect me to wax bumptious becanse of undue compliment : so enough of * Browning ' — 
except that he is yours very truly * while the machine is to him.' " 

In 1887 Browning removed to a more agreeable quarter in De Vere Gardens in the west end of 
London, and with his affection for Asolo, he set about purchasing a residence there in 1889, and it 
was while engaged in negotiations for the purchase that he was taken ill with bronchial troubles, 
and died at his son's home in Venice, December 12, 1889. He was buried in Poet's Comer, West- 
minster Abbey, on the last day of the year. Italy rightly divided honors with England, and on 
the outer wall of the Bezzonioo Palace in Venice is a memorial tablet with the inscription : — 

A 

ROBEBTO BbOWIONO 

morto in questo palazzo 
11 12 Dicembre 1889 
Venezia 
pose 

Below, in the comer, are placed two lines from his poem, De Chutibut: — 

'* Open my heart and you will aee 
Gxaved Inside of it, * Italy.' " 

bl e. s. 



PAULINE : THE FRAGMENT OF A CONFESSION 



Thb histoiy of the earliest printed of Brown- 

ing'a initingB is so curions that it seems worth 

wlnle to give it at greater length than its in- 

ttiiEio merit would require. As a boy firown- 

is; wrote an inordinate amonnt of verse, imitsr 

the largely of Byron, and some of it written 

vlien he was twdtve stmck his father as good 

taaagii to deserve printing, but no publisher 

eosld he found ready to confirm this faith. 

Then Browning fell into a Shelleyan mood, and 

when he was twenty projected a great work of 

whieh the introduction only was written. This 

introduetion was Pauline^ which to he precise 

was eompleted October 22, 1832. Browning's 

aant Tohmteered to pay the expenses of pub- 

lieataon, and it was published anonymously 

CBily in 1833 by Saunders & Otley. The most 

CBthoritative jierson on literary matters in the 

Tomig poet's circle of friends was the Rev. 

WiDuun Johnson Fox, a Unitarian clergyman 

aad editor of the Monthly Bepository. He had 

s few years before given emphatic commenda- 

ticm to the boy's verse, and now reviewed the 

poem with great warmth in his own magazine, 

to wimdng the poet's gratitude as to draw from 

Inm the extravagant expression : ^* I shall 

never write a line without thinking of the 

■onree of my first praise, be assured." The 

poem missed what would have been from its 

writer a more notable review. Mr. John 

Stoart Mill^ six years Browning's senior,^ was 

so delimited with Pauline that he wrote to the 

editor of Taifs Magcuine, the only periodical 

in which he could write freely, asking leave to 

review the poem. The editor replied that he 

had joat printed a curt, contemptuous notice, 

and eonld not at once take the other track. 

When llGll died his copy of Pauline^ crowded 

vith annotations, fell into Browning's hands 

aad may now be seen in the South Kensington 

Maaenni. 

In spite of soch hopeful promise the poem 
vas stiU-bom from the press. Five years 
hto>. Browning wrote in a copy *^the only 
Maaimng orab of the shapely Tree of Life in 
■jr Fool's Paradise." He appears never to 
W?e qioken of it until a striking circmnstauce 



brought it again into light. Many years after 
it was printed Dante Grabriel Rossetti was 
browsing among the volumes of forgotten po- 
etry in the British Museum. He came upon 
a book in which a number of pamphlet poems 
were bound in a heterogeneous collection. 
Among these was Pauline, He read it, and 
from its internal evidence was convinced that 
it was an unacknowledged poem of Browning's. 
The book was wholly out of print, and he 
made a copy of it. He wrote to Browning after- 
wards taxing the poet with the production, 
and Browning, greatly surprised at Rossetti's 
discovery, acknowledged the authorship. In 
1865, the editor of this Cambridge edition, 
meeting Rossetti in London, mentioned the 
fact that he had been copying at the British 
Museum Browning's prose introduction to the 
suppressed spurious collection of Shelley's Let- 
ters, whereupon Rossetti told him of this other 
rare book. Afterwards on learning that he 
had copied Pauline also he said: ** I suppose 
you will print it when you go back to 
America." "By no means," replied the 
editor ; " that would be a breach of faith. I 
copied it as a student of Browning. I never 
would make it public without Browning's 000-* 
sent." A year or two later therefore when a 
new edition of the collected poems was pub- 
lished, he thought himself not unlikely the un- 
witting occasion of the inclusion of Pauline^ for 
in the introduction Browning wrote as follows : 
" The first piece in the series (Pauline), I 
acknowledge and retain with extreme repugn 
nance, indeed purely of necessity ; for not long 
ago I inspected one, and am certified of the 
existence of other transcripts, intended sooner 
or later to be published abroad : by forestalling 
these, I can at least correct some misprints 
(no syllable is changed) and introduce a boyish 
work by an exculpatory word. The thing was 
my earliest attempt at "poetry always dra- 
matic in principle, and so many utterances of 
so many imaginary persons, not mine," which 
I have since written according to a scheme less 
extravagant and scale less impracticable than 
were ventured upon in this crude preliminary 



PAULINE 



sketch, — a sketch that, on reyiewal, appears 
not altogether tiride of some hint of the char- 
acteristic features of that particular dramatU 
persona it would fain ha^e reproduced: g^ood 
draughtsmanship, however, and right h5LiM^ling 
were far heyond the artist at that time. 
LoHDOH, 2)eoemter2S,1867. R. B." 

Twenty years later, upon sending out his 
final ooUectiye edition, Browning added to the 
preface just quoted the following sentences : — 

** I preserve, in order to supplement it, the 
foregoing preface. I had thought, when com- 
pelled to include in my collected works the 
poem to which it refers, that tilie honest course 
would he to reprint, and leave mere literary 
errors unaltered. Twenty years' endurance of 
an eyesore seems more than sufficient : my faults 
remain duly recorded against me, and I claim 
permission to somewhat diminish these, so far 



as style is concerned, in the present and final 
edition, where Pauline must needs, first of my 
performances, confront the reader. I have 
simply removed solecisms, mended the metre a 
little and endeavored to strengthen the phrase- 
ology -7 experience helping, in some degree, 
the helplessness of juvenile haste and heat in 
their untried adventure long ago." 
LoMDOH, February 27, 1888. 

The text here given, as throughout this 
volume, is that of Mr. Browning's latest 
revision. The text of the first revision, i. e. 
1867, may be found at the dose of volume i. of 
the Riverside edition. 

The quotations from Marot and Gomeliaa 
Agrippa which follow were prefixed to the 
original edition of the poem. The note en- 
closed in brackets was Browning's comment on 
reprinting the poem the last time. 



PAULINE 

Pltu ne suis ce que fat iU^ 
Etnele sqaurois jamais &re, 

Marot, 

Non dubito, quin titulus Ubri nostri raritate 
sua quamplurimos alliciat ad legendum : inter 
quoB nonnulli obliqucB opinionis, mente languid!, 
multi etiam maligni, et in ingenium nostrum in- 
grati aocedent, qui temeraria sua ignorantia, vix 
conspecto titulo clamabunt. Noe vetita docere, 
hsresium semina jacere: pils auribus offendi- 
oulo, prsBolaris ingeniissoandalo esse : . . . adeo 
consoientLee sua consulentes, ut nee Apollo, nee 
MussB omnes, neque Angelus de ccbIo me ab 
iUorum execratione vindicare queant : quibus 
et ego nunc consuloi ne scripta nostra leganti 
nee intelligant, nee meminerint : nam noxia 
sunt, venenosa sunt: Acherontis ostium est in 
hoc libro, lapides loquitur, caveant, ne cerebrum 
illis excutiat. Vos autem, qui SBqua mente ad 
legendum venitis, si tantam prudentiGe discre- 
tionem adhibueritis, quantam in melle l^endo 
apes, jam securi legite. Puto namque vos et 
utilitatis hand parum et voluptatis plurimum 
accepturos. Quod si qua repereritis, quee vobis 
non placeant, mittite ilia, nee utimini. Nam 

ET EOO VOBIS UJJL NON PBOBO, SED NaSBO. 

Csetera tamen propterea non respuite . . . Ideo, 
si quid Uberius dictum sit, ignoecite adolescen- 
ti» nostrae, qui minor quam adolescens hoc opus 
composui. — Hen, Corn, Agrippa^ De OccuU. 
Philosoph, in Proefai, 
"LavDOV : January f 1833. 



[This introduction would appear less absurdly 
pretentious did it apply, as was intended, to a 
completed structure of which the poem was 
meant for only a b^finning and remains a 
fragment.] 

Pauijnb, mine own, bend o'er me — thy soft 

breast 
Shall pant to mine — bend o'er me — thy sweet 

eyes, 
And loosened hair and breathing lips, and arms 
Drawing me to thee — these build up a soreea 
To shut me in with thee, and from all fear ; 
So tiiat I ni^ht unlock the sleepless brood 
Of fancies from my soul, their lurking-place. 
Nor doubt that each would pass, ne'er to retiun 
To one so watched, so lovea and so secured. 
But what can guard thee but thy naked love ? 
Ah dearest, wnoeo sucks a poisoned wound 
Envenoms nis own veins ! Thou art so good. 
So calm — if thou shouldst wear a brow leas 

%ht 
For some wild thought which, but for me, were 

kept 
From out thy soul as from a sacred, star !^ 
Yet till I have unlocked them it were vain 
To hope to sing ; some woe would li|:ht on nie ; 
Nature would point at one whose qmvering lip 
Was batiied in her enchantments, whose Drow 

burned 
Beneath the crown to which her secrets knelt. 
Who learned tiie spell which can call up tlie 

dead, 
And then departed smiling like a fiend 
Who has deceived God, — if such one should 

seek 
Agun her altars and stand robed and crowned 
Amid the f uthful ! Sad confession first, 
Remorse and pardon and old claims renewed. 
Ere I can be — as I shall be no more. 



PAULINE 



I had been spared this shame if I had sat 
Bj thee f oreTer from the first, in phuse 
€i JDJ vild dreams of beauty and of good, 
Or widi thenL, as an earnest of their truth : 
No thooeht nor hope hayinfi" been shut from thee, 
No va^e wiah unexplained, no wandering aim 
Sent back to bind on fancy^s wjnc[s and seek 
Some strange fair world where it might be a 

law; 
But, doubtiug nothing, had been led by thee, 
Haoa^ Youth, and savedy as lone at length 

awaked 
Who has slept through a peril. Ah vain, yaan ! 

Thou loTest me ; the past is in its grave 
Huagh its ghost haunts us ; still this much is 

onrSf 
To cast aws;^ restraint, lest a worse thing 
Wait for us in Uie dark. Thou lovest me ; 
And thon art to receive not love but faith. 
For which thou wilt be mine, and snule and 

take 
An shapes and shames, and veil without a fear 
That form which music follows like a slave : 
And I look to thee and I trust in thee. 
As in a Northem night one looks alway 
Unto the East for mom and spring and joy. 
Tbttm seest then my aimless, hopeless state, 
And, resting on some few old f eeli^^ won 
Baek by th v beauty, wouldst that i essay 
The task wni^^ was to me what now thou art : 
And why should I conceal one weakness more ? 

Thon wilt remeimber one warm mom when 

winter 
Crept aged from the earth, and spring's first 

breath 
Blew soft from the moist hills ; the black-thorn 

boughs. 
So dark in tJie bare wood, when glistening 
Ib the Bunslrine were white witii comim? buds, 
like the bright side of a sorrow, and the banks 
Had violets opening from sleep like eyes, 
I walked with thee who knew'st not a deep 

shame 
Larked beneath smiles and careless words 

^ which sought 
To hide it till they^ wandered and were mute, 
As we stood listaning on a sxmny mound 
To the wind murmuring in the damp copse, 
Like heavy breathii^ of some hidden tnin^ 
Betrayed by sleep : until the feeling mshecT 
Hiat I was low inaeed, yet not so low 
Aa to eodore the cahnness of thine eyes. 
And so I told thee all, while tiie cool breast 
I baaed on altered not its quiet beating : 
And long ere words like a hurt bird's complaint 
Bade me look up and be what I had been, 
I lelt diypair eould never live by thee : 
^on wilt remember. Thou art not more dear 
Thaa song was once to me : and I ne'er sung 
fetas one entering bright halls where all 
Vill rise and shout for mm : sure I must own 
that I am fallen, having chosen gifts 
^^inet from theirs — tnat I am sad and fain 
Meold nve up all to be but where I was. 
Sot h^h as I nad been if faithful found, 
Mlow and weak yet full of hope, and sure 



Of goodness as of life — that I would lose 
All this gay mastery of mind, to sit 
Once more with them, trusting in truth and love 
And with an aim — not being what I am. 

Pauline, I am ruined who believed 

That though my soul had floated from its 

^ sphere 
Of wild dominion into the dim orb 
Of self — that it was strong and free as ever I 
It has conformed itself to that dim orb. 
Reflecting all its shades and shapes, and now 
Must stay where it alone can be adored. 

1 have felt this in dreams — in dreajns in which 
I seemed the fate from which I fled ; I felt 

A strange delight in causing my decay. 
I was a nend in darkness chained forever 
Within some ocean-cave ; and ages rolled. 
Till through the deft rock, like a moonoeam, 

came 
A white swan to remain with me ; and agoa 
Rolled, yet I tired not of my first free joy 
In gazing on the peace of its pure wings : 
And then I said. It is most fair to me. 
Yet its soft wings must sure have suffered 

change 
From the thick darkness, sure its eyes are dim. 
Its silver pinions must be cramped and numbed 
With sleeping ages here : it cannot leave me. 
For it would seem, in lignt beside its kind. 
Withered, though here to me most beautiful." 
And then I was a young witch whose blue eyes. 
As she stood naked by the river springs. 
Drew down a god : I watched his radiant form 
Growing less radiant, and it gladdened me ; 
Till one mom, as he sat in the sunshine 
Upon my knees, singing to me of heaven. 
He turned to look at me, ere I could lose 
The grin with which I viewed his perishing : 
And ne shrieked and departed and sat long 
By his deserted throne, out sunk at last 
Murmuring, as I kissed his lips and curled' 
Around him, ^* I am still a god — to thee." 

Still I can lay my soul bare in its fall. 
Since all the wandering and all the weakness 
Will be a saddest comment on the sonpr : 
And if, that done, I can be young again, 
I will give up all gained, as willingly 
As one gives up a charm which shuts him out 
From hope or part or care in human kind. ^ 
As life wanes, all its care and strife and toil 
Seem strangely valueless, while the old trees^ 
Which grew .by our youth's home, the waving 

mass 
Of dimbin^ plants heavy with bloom and dew, 
The mormng swallows with their songs like 

words. 
All these seem clear and only worth our 

thoughts: 
So, aught connected with my eaxij life. 
My rude songs or my wild imi^pnmgs. 
How I look on them — most distinct amid 
The fever and tibe stir of after years I 

I ne'er had ventured e'en to hope for this, 
Had not the glow I felt at His award, 
Assured me all was not extinct within : 



PAULINE 



His whom all honor, whose renown sprines up 
Like sunlight which will yisit all the world, 
So that e'en they who sneered at him at first, 
Gome out to it, as some dark spider crawls 
From his foul nets which some lit torch invades, 
Yet spinning still new films for his retreat. 
Thou didst smile, poet, but can we forgive ? 

Sun-treader, life and light he thine forever ! ^ 
Thou art gone from us ; years p:o by and spring 
Gladdens and the young earth is beautiful, 
Tet thy songs come not, other bards arise. 
But none like thee : thev stand, thy majesties. 
Like mighty works which tell some spirit there 
Hath sat regardless of neglect and scorn. 
Till, its long task completed, it hath risen 
And left us, never to return, and all 
Rush in to peer and praise when all in vain. 
The air seems bright with thy past presence yet. 
But thou art still for me as thou hast been 
When I have stood with thee as on a throne 
With all thy dim creations gathered round 
Lake mountains, and I felt of mould like them. 
And with them creatures of my own were 

mixed. 
Like things naif-lived, catching and giving life. 
But thou art still for me who have adorea 
Though single, panting but to hear thy name 
Which I b^eved a spell to me alone. 
Scarce deeming thou wast as a star to men I 
As one should worship long a sacred 8i>ring 
Scarce worth a moth's Bitting, which long 

grasses cross. 
And one small tree embowers droopingly — 
Joying to see some wandering insect won 
To live in its few rushes, or some locust 
To pasture on its boughs, or some wild bird 
Stoop for its freshness from the trackless air : 
And then should find it but the fountain-head. 
Long lost, of some great river washing towns 
And towers, and seeing old woods which will live 
But by its banks untrod of human foot. 
Which, when the great sun sinks, lie quivering 
In l^^ht as some tmng lieth half of life 
Before God's foot, waiting a wondrous change ; 
Then girt with rocks whion seek to turn or stay 
Its course in vain, for it does ever spread 
Like a sea's arm as it goes rolling on. 
Being the pulse of some great country — so 
Wast thou to me, and art thou to the world ! 
And L perchance, half feel a strange regret 
That I am not what I have been to thee : 
Like a girl one has silently loved long 
In her nrst loneliness in some retreat. 
When, late emerged, all gaze and glow to view 
Her fieah. eyes and soft hair and lips which 

bloom 
Like a mountain berry : doubtless it is sweet 
To see her thus adorea, but tiiere have been 
Moments when all the world was in our praise. 
Sweeter than any pride of after hours. 
Yet, sun-treader, all hail! From my heart's 

heart 
I bid thee hail ! E'en in my wildest dreams, 
Iproudly feel I would have thrown to dust 
The wreaths of fame whidi seemed o'erhanging 

me. 
To see thee for a moment as thou art. 



And if thou livest, if thou lovest, spirit I 
Remember me who set this final seal 
To wandering thought — that one so pure as thou 
Could never die. Remember me who flung 
All honor from my soul, yet pwoised and said, 
** There is one spark of love remaininjg^ yet. 
For I have naught in common wilh him, shapes 
Which followed him avoid me, and foul forms 
Seek me, which ne'er could fasten on his mind ; 
And though' I feel how low I am to him. 
Yet I aim not even to catch a tone 
Of harmonies he called profusely up ; 
So, one gleam still remains, although the last." 
Remember me who praise thee e'en with tears, 
For never more shall I walk calm with thee ; 
Thy sweet imaginings are as an air, 
A nielodv some wondrous singer sinss, 
Which, though it haunt men oft in tne still eve. 
They dream not to essay ; yet it no less. 
But more is honored. I was thine in shame. 
And now when all thy proud renown is out, 
I am a watcher whose eyes have grown dim 
With looking for some star which breaks on him. 
Altered and worn and weak and full of tears. 

Autumn ha^ come Uke spring returned to us, 

\Yon from her girlishness ; like one returned 

A friend that was a lover, nor forgets 

The first warm love, but full of sober thoughts 

Of fading years: whose soft mouth quivers ^t 

With the old smue, but yet so changed and stdl t 

And here am I the scofiEer, who have probed 

Life's vanity, won by a word again 

Into my own life — by one little word 

Of this sweet friend who lives in loving me. 

Lives strangely on my thoughts and looks and 

words. 
As fathoms down some nameless ocean thing 
Its silent course of quietness and joy. 

dearest, if indeed I tell the past, 
May'st thou forget it as a sad sick dream I 
Or if it linger — my lost soul too soon 
Sinks to itself and whispers we shall be 

But closer linked, two creatures whom the earth 
Bears singly, with strange feelings unrevealed 
Save to each other ; or two lonely thii^ 
Created by some power whose reign is done. 
Having no part in God or his bright world. 

1 am to sing whilst ebbing day dies soft. 
As a lean scholar dies worn o'er bis book, 
And in Uie heaven stars steal out one by one 
As hunted men steal to their mountain watch. 
I must not think, lest this new impulse die 

In which I trust ; I have no confidence : 
So, I will sing on fast as fancies come ; 
Rudely, the verse being as the mood it paints. 

I strip my mind bare, whose first elements 
I shall unveil — not as they struggle forth 
In infancy, nor as they now exist. 
When I am grown above them and can rule — 
But in that middle stage when they were full 
Yet ere I had disposed them to my will ; 
And then I shall show how these elements 
Produced my present state, and what it is. 

I am made up of an intensest life, 
Of a most dear idea of consciousness 



PAULINE 



Of wlf , distinct from all its qnalitieB, 

ftook all affections, passions, f eeUngs. powers ; 

And thus &r it eziflto, if tracked, in all : 

But linked, in me, to self-enpremaoy, 

gwi^tWiy as a centre to all thmgs. 

Most potent to create and role and call 

Upon all things to minister to it ; 

And to a principle of restlessness 

Wlueh woold Be all, have, see, know, taste, 

feel,aU — 
This is myself ; and I should thus haye been 
Though gifted lower than the meanest soul. 

And of my powers, one springs up to save 
Pram utter death a soul with suon desire 
C^sofined to day — of powers the only one 
Which marks me — an imagination which 
Has been a very imgel, cxnmng not 
In fi^nl visions, but beside me ever 
And never foiling me ; so, though my mind 
Forgets not, not a shred of life foigets, 
Tet 1 can take a secret pride in calling 
The dark past up to quell it regally. 

A mind like this must dissipate itself, 
But I have always had one lode-star ; now. 
As I look back, I see that I have halted 
Or hastened as I looked towards that star — 
A need, a trust, a yearning after God : 
A feeling I have analyzed but late, 
But it existed, and was reconciled 
With a neglect of all I deemed his laws. 
Which yet, when seen in others, I abhorred. 
I felt as one beloved, and so shut in 
From fear : and thence I date my trust in signs 
And omens, for I saw God evei^ywhere ; 
And I can only lay it to the fruit 
Of a sad after-time that I could doubt 
Even his being — e*en the while I felt 
His presence, never acted from myself, 
' Scin tnsted in a hand to lead me through 
AH danger ; and this feeling ever fought 
Against my weakest reason and resolve. 

And I can love nothing — and this dull truth 
Has come the last : but sense supplies a love 
me and mmgling with my Ufe. 



These make myself : I have long sought in vain 
To tnee how they were formed by circumstance, 
Tet ever found Uiem mould mv wildest youth 
Where they alone displayed tnemselves, con- 
verted 
AH objects to their use : now see their course ! 

Tbej came to me in my first dawn of life 
Which passed alone with wisest ancient books 
AB halo-girt with fancies of mv own ; 
Aad I myself went with the tale — a god 
Wandering after beauty, or a giant 
Standi]^ vast in the sunset — an old hunter 
Talking with gods, or a high-crested chief 
Sailixig with troops of friends to Tenedos. 
I tdl yon, naught has ever been so clear 
Ai die place, the time, the fashion of those 

lives: 
Ilad not seen a work of lofty art. 
Bar woman's beauty nor sweet nature's face, 



Yet, I saj, never mom broke clear as those 
On the dmi clustered isles in the blue sea. 
The deep groves and white temples and wet 

caves: 
And nothing ever will surprise me now — 
Who stood beside the naked Swiftrfooted, 
Who bound my forehead with Proserpine's hair. 

And strange it is that I who could so dream 
Should e'er have stooped to aim at aught be- 
neath — 
Aught low or munful ; but I never doubted: 
So, as I grew, I rudely shaped my life 
To my immediate wants ; yet strong beneath 
Was a vague sense of power though folded up — 
A sense that, though those shiules and times 

wero past. 
Their spirit dwelt in me, with them should rule. 

Then came a pause, and long restraint chained 

down 
My soul till it was changed. I lost myself. 
And were it not that I so loathe that loss, 
I could recall how first I learned to turn 
My mind against itself ; and the effects 
In deeds for which remorse were vain as for 
The wuiderings of delirious dream ; yet thence 
Came cunning, envy, falsehood, all world's 

wrong 
That spotted me : at length I cleansed my soul. 
Yet long world's influence remained ; and 

naui^ht 
But the still life I led, apart once more, 
Which left me free to seek soul's old delights. 
Could e'er have brought me thus far back to 

peace. 

As neaoe returned, I sought out some pursuit ; 
Ana son^ rose, no new impulse but the one 
With wmch all others best could be combined. 
My life has not been that of those whose heaven 
Was lampless save where poesy riione out ; 
But as a clime whero glittering mountain-tops 
And glancing sea and forests steeped in light 
Give back reflected the f ar-flashi^ sun ; 
For music (which is earnest of a heaven. 
Seeing we know emotions strange by it. 
Not else to be revealed,) is like a voice, 
A low voice calling fancy, as a friend. 
To the green wooob in the ^y simmier time : 
And she fiJls all the way with dancing shapes 
Which have made painters xmJ^, and they go on 
Till stars look at them and winds call to them 
As they leave life's path for the twilight world 
Where the dead gather. This was not at first. 
For I scarce knew what I would do. I had 
An impulse but no yeamii^ — only sang. 

And first I sang as I in dream have seen 
Music wait on a lyrist for some thought, 
Yet singing to herself until it came. 
I turned to those old times and scenes where all 
That 's beautiful had birth for me, and made 
Rude verses on them 2UI ; and then I paused — 
I had done nothing, so I sought to know 
What other minds achieved. No fear outbroke 
As on the works of mighty bards I gazed. 
In the first joy at finding my own thoughts 



PAULINE 



Recorded, my own fancies justified, 

And their aspirings but my very own. 

With them 1 first explored passion and mind, — 

All to begin afresh ! I rather sought 

To rival what I wondered at than form 

Creations of mv own ; if much was light 

Lent by the others, much was yet my own. 

I paused again: a change was coming — came : 
I was no more a boy, the past was breaking 
Before the future and like fever worked. 
I thought on my new self, and all my powers 
Burst out. I dreamed not of restraint, but 

gazed 
On all things : schemes and systems went and 

came. 
And I was proud (being: vainest of the weak) 
In wandering o'er thought's world to seek some 

one 
To be my prize, as if yon wandered o'er 
The White Way for a star. 

And my choice fell 
Notsomuchonasystemasaman- 
On one, whom praise of mine shall not offend, 
Who was as calm as beauty, being such 
Unto mankind as thou to me, Pauline, — 
Believing in them and devoting all 
His souTs strength to their winning back to 

peace; 
Who sent forth hopes and longings for their sake. 
Clothed in all nassion's melodies : such first 
Caught me and set me, slave of a sweet tai^. 
To disentangle, gather sense from song : 
Since, song^inwoven, lurked there words which 

seemed 
A key to a new world, the muttering 
Of angels, something yet unfinaewed oy man. 
How my heart leapt as still 1 sought and found 
Much there, I felt my own soul had conceived, 
But there living and burning I Soon the orb 
Of his conceptions dawned on me ; its praise 
Lives in the tong^ues of men, men's brows are 

high 
When hu name meuis a triumph and a pride. 
So. my weak voice may well forbear to shame 
What seemed decreed my fate : I threw myself 
To meet it, I was vowed to liberty. 
Men were to be as gods and earth as heaven. 
And I — ah, what a life was mine to prove I 
My whole soul rose to meet it. Now, Pauline, 
I shall go mad, if I recall that time I 

Oh let me look back ere I leave forever 
The time which was an hour one fondly waits 
For a fair girl that comes a withered hag ! 
And I was lonely, far from woods and fields. 
And amid dullest sights, who should be loose 
As a sta^ ; yet I was full of bliss, who lived 
With Plato and who had the key to life ; 
And I had dimly shaped my first attemnt. 
And many a thought did I build up on tnought, 
As the wud bee hangs cell to cell ; in vain, 
For I must still advance, no rest for mind. 

'T was in my plan to look on real life. 

The life all new to me ; my theories 

Were firm, so them I left, to look and learn 



Mankind, its cares, hopes, fears, its woes and joys; 
And, as I pondered on their ways, I sou^rht 
How best life's end might be attained — an end 
Comprising every joy. I deeply mused. 

And suddenly without heart-wreck I awoke 
As from a dream : I said, *"* 'T was beautif dU 
Yet but a dream, and so adieu to it ! " 
As some world-wanderer sees in a far meadow 
Strange towers and high-walled gardens iJiick 

with trees, 
Where song takes shelter and delicious mirth. 
From laughing fairy creatures peeping over. 
And on the morrow when he comes to lie 
Forever 'neath those garden-trees fruit^flushed 
Sung round by fairies, all his search is vain. 
First went m;^ hopes of perfecting mankind. 
Next — faith m them, and then in freedom's self 
And virtue's self, then mv own motives, ends 
And aims and loves, and human love went last. 
I felt this no decay, because new powers 
Rose as old feelings left — wit, mockery, 
Li^ht-heartedness ; for I had oft been sad, 
Mistrusting my resolves, but now I cast ' 
Hope joyouslv away : I laughed and said, 
**Nb more of this I " I must not think : at 

length 
I looked again to see if all went well. 

My powers were greater : as some temple seemed 
My souL where naught is changed and incense 

Around the altar, only God is gone 
And some dark spirit sitteth in his seat. 
So, I passed through the temple and to me 
Knelt troops of shadows, and they cried, ** Hail^ 

king! 
We serve thee now and thou shalt serve no 

morel 
Call on us, prove us, let us worship thee I " 
And I said, * * Are ye strong ? Let fancy bear me 
Far from the past ! ' ' And I was' borne away, 
As Arab birds float sleeping in the wind. 
O'er deserts, towers and forests, I being calm. 
And I said, '* I have nursed up energies. 
They will prey on me." And a band knelt low 
And cried, Lord, we are here and we will 

make 
Safe way for thee in thine appointed life I 
But look on us ! " And I said, *^ Ye will worship 
Me ; should my heart not worship too ? " Tliey 

shouted, 
"Thyself, thou art our king I" So, I stood 

there 
Snuling — oh, vanity of vanities ! 
For buoyant and rejoicing was the spirit 
With wnich I looked out now to end my course ; 
I felt once more m vself , my powers — all mine ; 
I knew while youtn and health so lifted me 
That, spite of all life's nothingness, no grief 
Came mgh me, I must ever be light-hearted ; 
And that this knowledge was the only veil 
Betwiict joy and despair: so, if age came, 
I should be left — a wreck linked to a soul 
Yet fluttering, or mind-broken and aware 
Of my decay. So a loiig summer mom 
Found me ; and ere noon came, I had resolved 
No age should come on me ere yout^ was spent^ 



PAULINE 



fn I would wear myself out, like that mom 
WUdi wasted not a sunbeam ; every hour 
I woold make mine} and die. 

And thus I sought 
To chain my spirit down which erst I freed 
For fli^fes to fame : I said, '' The troubled life 
Of genioa, seen so gay when working forth 

trusted end, grows sad when all proves 



ram — 
Hov sad when men have parted- with truth's 

peace 
?or falsest fancy's sake, which waited first 
As so obedient spirit when delight 
Came without fancy's call : but alters soon, 
Conies darkened, seldom, hastens to depart, 
Lesring a heavy darkneiw and warm tears. 
But I uall never lose her ; she will live 
Disier for sneh seclusion. I but catch 
A kae, a glanoe of what I sing : so, pain 
h linked with pleasure, for I ne'er may teU 
Half the bright sights which dazzle me ; but 



ICne shall be all the radiance : let them fade 
Ustold — others shall rise as fair, as fast I 
And when all 's done, the few dim gleams trans^ 

ferred," — 
(For a new thought sprang up how well it were, 
Disesrding shadowy nope, to weave such lays 
Ab straight encirde men with praise and love. 
So, I should not die utterlv, — should bring 
OMhtaneh from the gold forest, like the knight 
Of old tales, witnessing I had been tiliere) — 
^'Aad when all's done, how vain seems e'en 



Tile vaunted influence poets have o'er men ! 
Tis a fine thi&g that one weak as myself 
Shoinld sit in his lone room, knowing the words 
He utters in his solitude shall move 
Hen lOce a swift wind — that though dead and 

gone, 
5ev eyes shaU glisten when his beauteous 



Of love eome true in happier frames than his. 
Ay, the still night brings thoughts like these, 

but mom 
Comes and the mockery again laughs out 
At hollow praises, smiles allied to sneeis ; 
i And my soul's idol ever whispers me 
' To dwdl with him and his unhonored song : 
And I foreknow my spirit, that would press 
Ivat in the struggle, tail again to make 
AU bow enalaved7 and I again should sink. 

"And then know that this curse will come on us. 
To see our idols perish ; we may wither. 
Ho marvel, we aro day, but our low fate 
Bboold not extend to those whom trustingly 
Ve sent before into time's yawning gulf 
Ts face what dread may lurk in darknewi thero. 
; % fiiMi the painter's glory pass, and feel 
Tbmc can move us not as once, or^ worst, 
M weep decaying wits ere the frail body 

! Naught makes me trust some love is 
true, 
the delist of the contented lowness 
mth vhiehl gaze on him I keep forever 
I to rise and rival hun ? 






Feed his fame rather from my heart's best blood. 
Wither unseen that he may flourish still." 

Pauline, my soul's friend, thou dost pity yet 
How thu mood swayed me when that soul found 

thine. 
When I had set myself to live this life, 
Defying all rast glory. Ere thou earnest 
I seemed defiant, sweet, for old delights 
Had flocked like birds again ; music, my life. 
Nourished me moro than ever ; then tiie lore 
Loved for itself and all it shows — that king 



Treading the purple calmly to his death. 
While round nim, like the clouds of eve. 



all 



dusk. 



The giant shades of fate, silently flitting. 
Pile the dim outline of the coming doom ; 
And him sitting alone in blood while frimds 
Are huntinfl: far in the sunshine ; and the bo^ 
With his white breast and brow and dustenng 

curls 
Streaked with his mother's blood, but striving 

hard 
To tell his story ere his reason goes. 
And when I loved thee as love seemed so oft, 
Thou lovedst me indeed : I wondering searched 
My heart to find some feeling like such love. 
Believing I was stiU much I nad been. 
Too soon I found all faith had gone from me, 
And the late glow of life, like change on clouds, 
Proved not the mom-blush widening into day. 
But eve f aint-oolored by the dving sun 
While darkness hastens quickly. I will tell 
My state as though 't wero none of mine — 

despair 
Cannot come near us — this it is, my state. 

Souls alter not, and mine must still advance ; 
Strange that I knew not, when I fluufi: away 
My youth's chief aims, their loss mignt lead to 

loss 
Of what few I rotained, and no resource 
Be left me : for behold how changed is all ! 
I cannot chain my soul : it will not rest 
In its day prison, this most narrow sphere : 
It has strange impulse, tendency, desiro, 
Which nowise I account for nor explain. 
But cannot stifle, being bound to trust 
All feelings equidly, to hear all sides : 
How can my life indulge them ? yet they live. 
Referring to some state of life uiULnown. 

My selfishness is satiated not. 

It wears me like a flame ; my hunger for ^ 

All pleasure, howsoe'er minute, grows pain ; 

I envy — how I envy him whose soul 

Turns its whole^ energies to some one end. 

To elevate an aim, pursue success 

However mean I So, my still baffled hope^ 

Seeks out abstractions ; I would have one joy. 

But one in life, so it were whollv mine. 

One rapture all my soul could fill : and this 

Wild feeling places me in dream afar 

In some vast country where the eye can see 

No end to the far hills and dales bestrewn 

With shining towers and towns, till I grow 

mad 
Well-nigh, to know not one abode but holds 



8 



PAULINE . 



Some ploaBore, while my aaul oonld grasp the 

world, 
But mnst remaiii this vile form's shbve. I look 
With hope to age at last, which quenching much. 
May let me concentrate what sparks it spares. , 

ThiB restlessness of passion meets in me 

A craving after knowled^ : the sole proof 

Of yet commanding will is in tiiat power 

Repressed ; for I oeheld it in its dawn, 

The sleepless harpy with just-hudding wings, 

And I considered whether to forego 

All happy ignorant hopes and fears, to liye. 

Finding a recompense m its wild eyes. 

And wnen I found that I should perish so, 

I hade its wild eyes close from me forever, 

And I am left alone with old delights : 

See I it lies in me a chained thing, still prompt 

To serve me if I loose its slightest bond : 

I cannot but be proud of my bright slave. 

How should this earth's life prove my only 

sphere ? 
Can I so narrow sense but that in life 
Soul still exceeds it ? In their elements 
My love outsoars my reason ; but since love 
PerfoFce receives its object from this earth 
While reason wanders chainless, the few truths 
Caught from its wanderings have sufficed to 

oueU 
Love chained below ; then what were love, set 

free, 
Which, with the object it demands, would pass 
Reason companioning the seraphim ? 
No, what I teel may pass all human love 
Yet fall far short of what my love should be. 
And vet I seem more warped in this than aught, 
Mjrself stands out more hideously : of old 
I could forget mvself in friendship, fame, 
Libertv, nay, in love of mightier souls^ ; 
But I begin to know what thing hate is — 
To sicken and to quiver and grow white — 
And I myself have furnished its first prey. 
Hate of the weak and ever-wavering will, 
The selfishness, the stiU-decaying frame . . . 
But I must never grieve whom wing can waft 
Far from such thoughts — as no w . Andromeda ! 
And she is with me : years roll, I shall change. 
But change can touch her not — so beautiful 
With her fixed eyes, earnest and still, and hair 
Lifted and spread by the salt-sweeping breeze^ 
And one red beam, all the storm leaves m 

heaven. 
Resting upon her eyes and hair, such hair. 
As she awaits the snake on the wet beach 
By the dark rock and the white wave just 

breaking 
At her feet ; quite naked and alone ; a thing 
I doubt not. nor fear for, secure some god 
To save will come in thunder from the stars. 
Let it pass I Soul requires another change. 
I will be gifted with a wondrous mind, 
Tet sunk by error to men's sympathy. 
And in the wane of life, yet only so 
As to call u]) their fears ; and there shall come 
A time requiring youth's best energies ; 
And lo, I ning age, sorrow, sickness off. 
And rise triumphant, triumph through decay. 



And thus it is that I snpnly the chasm | 

'Twixt what I am and all I fain would be : 
But then to know nothing, to hope for nothing,. 
To seize on life's dull joys from a strange fear 
Lest, losing them, all 's lost and naught remains 1 

Thera 's some vUe juggle with my reason hen ; 
I feel I but explain to my own loss 
These impulses : they Uve no less the same. 
Liberty I what though I despair ? my blood 
Rose never at a slave's name proud as now. 
Oh sympathies, obscured bv sojihistries 1 — 
Why else have I sought refuge in myself. 
But from the woes I saw and could not stav? 
Love I is not this to love thee, my Pauline r 
I cherish prejudice, lest I be left 
Utterly loveless ? witness mv belief 
In poets, though sad change has come there too ; 
No more I leave myself to follow them — 
Unconsciously I measure me bv them — 
Let me f omt it : and I cherish most 
Mv love of England — how her name, a word 
Of hen in a strange tongue makes my heart 
beat! 

Pauline, could I but break the spell ! Not 

now — 
All 's fever — but when calm shall come again, 
I am prepared : I have made life my own. 
I would not be content with all the change 
One frame should feel, but I have gone in 

thought 
Through all conjuncture. I have lived all life 
When it is most alive, where stransest fate 
New-shapes it past surmise — Uie throes of men 
Bit by some curse or in the grasps of doom 
Half-visible and still-incroarang round. 
Or crowning their wide being's general aim. 

These are wild fancies, but I feel, sweet friend. 
As one breathing his weakness to the ear 
Of pitting angel — dear as a winter flower, 
A slignt flower growing alone, and offering 
Its frail cup of three leaves to the cold sun. 
Yet joyous and confiding like the triumph 
Of a child : and why am I not worthy tnee ? 
I can live all the life of plants, and gaze 
Drowsily on the bees that flit and play. 
Or bare my breast for sunbeams which will 

kill. 
Or open in the night of sounds, to look 
For the dim stars ; I can mount with the bird 
Leaping airilv his pyramid of leaves 
And twisted boughs of some tall mountain tree, 
Or rise cheerfully springing to the heavens ; 
Or like a fish breathe deep the morning air 
In the misty sun- warm water ; or with flower 
And tree can smile in light at the sinking snn 
Just as the storm comes, as a girl would look 
On a departing lover — most serene. 

Pauline, come with me, see how I could build 
A home for us, out of the world, in thoug:ht 1 
I am uplifted : fly with me, Pauline 1 

Night, and one single ridge of narrow path 
Between the sullen river and the woodis 
Waving and muttering, for the moonless night 



PAULINE 



Bm shaped them into iina|grM of life, 
UkB the upriaiiiff of the giant^cstB, 
Lfwhang on earth to know how their sons fare : 
ThoQ ait so olose by me, the rong^hest swell 
Of wbd in the treehtons hides not the panting 
Of t])]r nft breasts. Ko, we will pass to mom- 

iBg — 
Moni&g, the rocks and Talleys and old woods. 
Hov fib son brightens in the mist, and here, 
Half in the air, Hke oreatures of the place, 
Touting the element. Hying on high bongfas 
Hist swing in the wind — look at the sUyer 

FfaiK nom the foam-sheet of the cataraet 
Amid the broken rocks 1 Shall we stay here 
WA the wild hawks? No, ere the not noon 



Dbewedown^ — safe I See this onr new retreat 
WaDsd in with a sloped monnd ci matted 

flAmba, 
Dnk, tanded, old and green, still sloping down 
To a small pool whose waters lie asleep 
Amid the trailing bonghs turned wato^lants : 
And tall trees oyeraron to keep ns in, 
Breakinsr the sunbeams iato emerald shafts. 
And in the dreamy water one small gronp 
Of two or three strange trees are got together 
Wondering at all aroond, as strange beasts herd 
Togediernr from their own land: allwildness, 
No turf nor moss^ for bonghs and iJants paye all. 
And tongnes of bank go shelying in the lymph. 
Where the pale-^liroated snake reclines his head. 
And old gray stones lie making eddies there. 
The wild-ffiioe eroas them dry-shod. Deeper in I 
%^otU^ soft eyes — now look — still deei>er in I 
' > is the yery heart of the woods all round 



XooBtain-like heaped aboye ns ; yet eyen here 
Otae pond of water gleams ; far on the riyer 
Sweeps like a sea, oazred out from land ; but 



One thin elear sheet has oyerleaped and wound 
Into this silent depth, which gained, it lies 
SdU, am but let by sufferance : the trees bend 
O'er it as wild men watch a sleeping prl^ 
And throus^ their roots long creepug plants 

ont-stretoh 
Hkeir twined hair, steeped and sparkling'; far- 

theron. 
Tall rashes and thick flag-knots haye combined 
To ittrrow it ; so, at length, a silyer thread. 
It winds, an noiselessly through the deep wood 
Till through a deft-way, through the moss and 

stone. 
It joins its parent-riyer with a shout. 

Dp for the glowing day, leaye the old woods I 
8m, ^ley part like a mined uch : the sky I 
I Knnihig but sky appears, so olose the roots 
I Aad grass of the mU-top leyel with the air — 
I Blse sonny air, where a great cloud floats jaden 
'WA. li^t, like a dead whale that white birds 

Astiag away in tiie sun in some north sea. 

^ air, fresh life-blood, thin and searching air, 
w dear, dear breath of God that loyeth us, 
whoe small birds reel and winda take their de- 

hgfat I 

u beantifnl, but not like air : 



See, where the solid asure waters lie 
Made as of thickened air, and dowil below, 
The fern-ranks like a forest spread themselyes 
As though each pore could feel the element ; 
Where the quick glancing serpent winds his 



wa; 



Float with me there, Pauline I — but not like air. 

Down the hill I Stop -^ a clump of trees, see, set 
On a heap of rock, which look o'er the far plain : 
So, enyious dimbin^ shrubs would mount to rest 
And peer from their spread boughs ; wide they 

waye, looking 
At the muleteers who whistle on their way. 
To the merry chime of morning beUs, past aU 
The little smoking cots, mid fields and banks 
And copses bright in tne sun. My spirit wan- 
ders: 
Hedgerows for me — those liying hedgerows 

where 
The bushes dose and clasp aboye and keep 
Thought in — I am concentrated — I feel ; 
But my soul saddens when it looks beyond : 
I cannot be immortal, taste all joy. 

O God, where do they tend — these struggling 



What would I haye? What is this "sleep" 

which seems 
To bound all ? can there be a ** waking " point 
Of crowning life ? The soul would neyer rule ; 
It would be first in all things, it would haye 
Its utmost pleasure filled, but, that complete, 
Ck>mmanding, for commanding, sickens it. 
The last point I can trace is — rest beneath 
Some better essence than itself, in weakness ; 
This is " myself," not what I think should be : 
And what is that I hunger for but God ? 

My^Grod, my God, let me for once look on thee 
As though naught else existed, we alone I 
And as creation cmmbles^my soul^s spark 
£bq>ands till I can say, — Even from myself 
I need thee and I fed thee and I loye thee. 
I do not plead my rapture in thy works 
For loye of thee, nor that I feel as one 
Who cannot die : but there is that in me 
Which turns to thee, which loyes or which 
should loye. 

Why have I girt myself with this hdl-dress ? 

Why haye I laborea to put out my life ? 

Is it not in my nature to adore. 

And e'en for all my reason do 1 not 

Fed him, and thank him, and pray to him — 

now? 
Can I forego the trust that he loyes me ? 
Do I not feel a loye which only onb . . . 

thou Dale form, so dimly seen, deep-eyed I 

1 haye aenied thee cahnly — do I not 

Pant when I read of thy consummate power. 

And bum to see thy calm pure truths out-flash 

The brightest gleams of earth's philosophy ? 

Do I not shake to hear aught question tnee ? 

If I am erring saye me, madden me. 

Take from me powers and pleasures, let me die 

AgeSf so I see tnee I I am Knit round 

As with a ohann by sin and lust and pride. 



10 



PAULINE 



Yet though my wandermg dreams have seen 

all shapes 
Of strange delight, oft have I stood by thee — 
Have I Men keeping lonely^ watoh with thee 
In the damp night by weeping Olivet, 
Or leaning on toy bosom, proudly less, 
Or dying with thee on the lonely cross. 
Or witnessing thine oatbnrst from the tomb. 

A mortal, sin's familiar friend, doth here 
Atow that he will eive all earth's reward, 
Bnt to believe and numbly teaoh the faitfa^ 
In suffering and poverty and shame, 
Only believing he is not unloved. 

And now, mj Pauline, I am thine forever I 
I feel the spirit which has buoyed me up 
Desert me, and old shades are gathering fast ; 
Tet while the last li^t waits, I would say much. 
This chiefly, it is gain that I have said 
Somewhat of love I ever felt for tiiee 
But seldom told ; our hearts so beat together 
That speech seemed mockery ; but when dark 

hours come, 
And joy departs, and thou, sweet, deem'st it 

strange 
A sorrow moves me, thou canst not remove. 
Look on this lay I dedicate to thee. 
Which through thee I began, which thus I end. 
Collecting the last gleams to strive to tell 
How I am thine, and more than ever now 
That I sink fsst : yet though I deeplier sink, 
No less song proves one word has brought me 

bliss, 
Another still may win bliss surely back. 
Thou knowest. dear, I could not think all calm. 
For ^ncies followed thought and bore me off. 
And left all indistinct : ere one was caught 
Another glanced ; so, dazzled by my wealth, 
I knew not wluch to leave nor which to chdose. 
For all so floated, naught was fixed and firm. 
And then thou said'st a perfect bard was one 
Who chronicled the stages of all life, 
And so thou bad'st me shadow this first stage. 
^T is done, and even now I recognize 
The shift, the change from last to pauBt — discern 
Faintly how life is tmth and tmth is good. 
And wny thou must be mine is, that e'en now 
In the dim hush of ni^ht, that I have done. 
Despite the sad forebodings, love looks 

through — 
Whispers, — E'en at the last I have her still. 
With ner delicious eyes as clear as heaven 
When rain in a qmck shower has beat down 

mist. 
And dou^ float white above like broods of 

swans. 
How the blood lies upon her cheek, outspread 
As thinned by kisses I only in her lips 
It wells and pulses like a uving thing. 
And her neck looks like marble misted o'er 
With love-breath, — a Pauline from heights 

above, 
Stooping beneath me, looking up — one look 
As I might kill her and be loved the more. 

So, love me — me, Pauline, and naught but me, 
Never leave loving I Words are wild and.weak. 



Believe them not, Pauline I I stained myself 
But to behold thee purer by my side. 
To show thou art my breath, my life, a last 
Resource, an extreme want : never believe 
Aught better could so look on thee ; nor seek 
Again the world of good thoughts leat for minel 
There were bri^t troops of undiscovered sons, 
Each equal in tneir radiant course ; there were 
Clusters of far fair isles which ocean kept 
For his own joy, and his waves broke on them 
Without a choice ; and there was a dim crowd 
Of visions, each a part of some grand whole : 
And one star left his peers and came with peaee 
Upon a storm, and au eyes pined for him ; 
And one ide harbored a sea-beaten ship. 
And the crew wandered in its bowers and 

plucked 
Its fnuts and gave up all their hopes of home ; 
And one dream came to a pale poet's sleep, 
And he said, ** I am siiiglea out by God, ^ 
No sin must touch me.'*^ Words are wild and 

weak. 
But what they would express is, — Leave me 

not. 
Still sit by me with beating breast and hair 
Loosened, be watching earnest by my edde. 
Turning my books or Kissing me when I 
Look up — like summor wind ! Be stall to me 
A help to music's mystery which mind fails 
To fathom, its solutioiL no mere due I 

reason's pedantry, liie's rule prescribed I 

1 hopeless, I the loveless, hope luid love. 
Wiser and better, know me now, not when 
You loved me as I was. Smile not I I have 
Much yet to dawn on you, to gladden yon. 

No more of the past I I 'Ulook within no moie, 
I have too trusted my own lawless wants. 
Too trusted my vain sdf , vague intuition — 
Draining soul's wine alone in the still night. 
And seeing bow, as gathering films arose. 
As by an inspiration life seemed bare 
And grinning in its vanity, while ends 
Foul to be dreamed of, smiled at me as fixed 
And fair, while others changed from fair to foul 
As a young witch turns an old hag at night. 
No more of this I We will go hand in hand, 
I with thee, even as a child — love's slave. 
Looking no farther than his liege commands. 

And thou hast chosen where this life shall be : 
The land which gave me thee shall be our home. 
Where nature lies all wild amid her lakes 
And snow-swathed mountains and vast pines 

begirt 
With ropes of snow — where nature lies all bare, 
Suffering none to view her but a race 
Or stinted or deformed, like the mute dwar& 
Which wait upon a naked Indian queen. 
And there (the time being when the heavenB 

are tmck 
With storm) I '11 sit with thee while thou dost 

fling 
Thy^ native songs, gay as a desert bird 
Which crieth as it flies for perfect joy, 
Or telling me old stories of dead knights ; 
Or I will read ^freat lays to thee — how she. 
The fair pale sister, went to her chill gra\re 
With power to love and to be loved and li-ve : 



PAULINE 



II 



Or «e vin go together, like twin gods 
Of the inf eraal world, with seented lamp 
Orer the dead, to call and to awake, 
Orer the Qnahaped images whioh lie 
Within my mind's cave : only leaTing all. 
That telh of the past doubt. So, when spring 

eomee 
Tyithfnnjihfne back again like an old snule. 
Aid the fresh waters and awakened birds 
And hnddingr woods await ns, I shall be 
FkeiMtted, and we wiU qnestion life once more, 
ini tti old sense shall oome renewed by change, 
like some dear thought which harsh words 

veiled before ; 
FeeKng God lores ns, and that aQ which errs 
Is hat a dream which death will dissipate. 
Asd then what need of longer exile ? Seek 

S*" England, and, agun there, calm approach 
I once fled from, calmly look on those 
The works of my past weakness, as one views 
Some aoene where danger met him long before. 
Ah that snch pleasant life should be but 
dreamed! 



Bit wfaate'er eome of it, and though it fade. 
And thoQgh ere the cold morning ul be ^ne, 
As it may be ; — though niusic wait to wile. 
And strange eyes and bright wine lure, laugh 

Ukesin 
Whidi steals back softly on a soul half saved. 
And I the &flt deny, decoy, despise. 
With this avowal, these intents so fair, — 
Still he it all my own, this moment's pride I 
Ko less I make an end in perfect joy. 
E'en in my brightest time, a lurkmg fear 
Poa w ss o d me : I well knew my weak resolves, 
I leh iJie witchery that makes mind cdeep 
Over its treasure, as one half afraid 
To make his riches definite : but now 
These feetings shall not utterly be lost, 
Ishall not know again that nameless care 
Lest, leaving all imdone in ^routh, some new 
And undreamed end reveal itself too late : 
For this song shall remain to tell forever 
That when I lost all hope of such a change, 
SaddenW beauty rose on me again. 
Ko leas 1 nudke an end in perfect Joyi 
For I, who thus again was visited. 
Shall donbt not many another bliss awaits. 
And, thoogh this weisik soul sink and darkness 

wheun. 
Some fi^ word shall light it, raise aloft, 



To where I dearlier see and better love. 
As I again go o*er the tracts of thought 
Like one who has a right, and I slum live 
With poets, calmer, purer still each time. 
And beauteous shapes will come for me to seize. 
And unknown secrets will be trusted me 
Which were denied the waverer once ; but now 
I shall be priest and prophet as of old. 

Sun-treader, I believe in God and truth 
And love ; and as one just escaped from death 
Would bind himself in bands of friends to feel 
He lives indeed, so, I would lean on thee ! 
Thou must be ever with me, most in gloom 
If snch must come, but chiefly when I die. 
For I seem, dying, as one going in the dark 
To fiffht a giant : but live thou forever, 
Amd be to all what thou hast been to me I 
All in whom this wakes pleasant thoughts of me 
Know my last state is happy, free from doubt 
Or touch of fear. Love me and wish me well. 



SONNET. 

Mr. QoBBO in his Personalia copies &om the 
Monthly Repository the following sonnet. Three 
other pieces first printed in the same periodical 
will be found as afterward grouped in BeUs 
and PomegranaUs, 

Eteb, calm beside thee (Lady, couldst thoa 
know !) 
May turn away thick with fast gathering 
tears: 
I eiuioo not where all gaze : thrilling and low 
Their passionate praises reach thee — my 
cheek wears 
Alone no wonder when thou passest by ; 
Thy tremulous Uds, bent and suffused, reply 
To the irrepressible boma^ whioh doth glow 

On every lip but mine : if in thine ears 
Their accents linger — and thou dost recall 
Me as I stood, still, guarded^ veiy pale. 
Beside each votarist whose lighted brow 
Wore worship like an aureole. O'er them all 
My beauty," thou wilt murmur, " did pre- 
vail 
Save that one only : " — Lady, couldst thou 

know I 
August 17, 1834. 



12 



PARACELSUS 



PARACELSUS 

INSCXXBBD TO 

am£d6e de ripert-monclar 



BY HIS AFFBCTIONATB FRIEND 



LoNDOir, March 15, 1835. 

The dedication of Paracelsus was, in a de- 
gree, the payment of a debt, for it was the 
yonng oonnt, four years older than Browning, 
and at the time a private agent in England be- 
tween the Duchesse de Berri and her royalist 
friends in France, who suggested the subject 
to the poet. When first published Paracelsus 
had the following Preface : ** I am anxious that 
the reader should not, at the very outset, — 
mistaking my performance for one of a class 
with which it has nothing in common, — judge 
it by principles on which it was never moulded, 
and subject it to a standard to which it was 
never meant to conform. I therefore anticipate 
his discovery, that it is an attempt, probably 
more novel than happy, to reverse the method 
usually adopted by writers whose aim it is to 
set forth any phenomena of the mind or the 
passions, by tiie operation of persons and events ; 
and that, instead of having recourse to an ex- 
ternal machinery of incidents to create and 
evolve the crisis I desire to produce, I have 
ventured to display somewhat minutely the 
mood itself in its rise and progress, and have 
suffered the agency by which it is influenced 
and determined, to be generally discernible in 
its effects alone, and subordinate throughout, if 
not altogether excluded : and this for a reason. 
I have endeavored to write a poem, not a drama : 
the canons of the drama are well known, and I 
cannot but think that, inasmuch as they have 

PERSONS 

AuBBOLUB Paragslsub, a student. 
FnriTB and Hxchal, his friends. 
Apbux, an Italian poet. 



R. a 



I. PARACELSUS ASPIRES 

SosHB, Wurthurg : a garden in the environs. 1512. 
FBstus, Paraoxlbub, Michal. 

Paracelsus, Come close to me, dear friends ; 
still closer ; thus I 
Close to the heart which, though long time roll by 
Ere it a^n beat quicker, pressed to yours. 
As now it beats — perchance a long, long time — 
At least henceforth your memories shall make 
Quiet and fragrant as befits their home. 
Nor shall my memory want a home in yours — 
Alas^ that it requires too well such free 
Forgiving love as shall embalm it there I 



immediate regard to stage representation, ihs 
peculiar advantages they hold out are really 
such only so long as the purpose for which they 
were at first instituted is kept in view. I do 
not very well understand what is called a Dra- 
matic Poem, wherein all those restrictions only 
submitted to on account of compensating good 
in the original scheme are serupoloiisly re- 
tained, as though for some special fitnesa in 
themselves — and all new facilities placed at an 
author's disposal by the vehicle he selects, as 
pertinaciously rejected. It is certain, however, 
that a work like mine depends on tiie intelli- 
genoe and sympathy of the reader for its 
success, — indeed were my scenes star, its most 
be his cooperating fancy which, supplying: all 
chasms, shiill collect the scattered lights into 
one constellation — a Lyre or a Crown. I trust 
for his indulgence towards a poem' which had 
not been imagined six months ago; and that 
even should he think slightingly of the present 
(an experiment I am in no case likely to repeat) 
he wiU not be prejudiced against odier produc- 
tions which may follow in a more popular, and 
perhaps less difficult form.** 

Mr. Browning, senior, paid for the publication 
of Paracelsus. In its final form, as here given, 
it ia greatly changed, not in structure but in 
phrase. Mr. Cooke states that the change af- 
fects nearly a third of the lines. 



For if you would remember me aright. 

As I was bom to be, you must forget 

All fitful, strange and moody waywardness 

Which e*er confused my better spirit, to dwell 

Only on moments such as these, dear friends ! 

— My heart no truer, but my words and ways 

More true to it: as Michal, some months 

hence. 
Will say, ^^ this autumn was a pleasant time," 
For some few sunny dajjirs ; and overlook 
Its bleak wind, hankering after pining leaves. 
Autumn would fain be sunny : Iwoum look 
Liker my nature's truth : ana both are frail. 
And both beloved, for all our frailty. 

Michal. ^ Aureole ! 

Par. Drop by drop I she is weeping like a 
child I 
Not so I I am content — more than content ; 
Nay, autumn wins you best by this its mute 
Appeal to sympathy for its decay : 
Look up, sweet Michal, nor esteem the less 



J 



1 



PARACELSUS 



13 



Tost stained and drooping vines their grapes 

bovdowoi 
Kor Uaioe those creaking trees bent inih their 
I fnrit, 

Hiat wppLd-tree with a rare after-birth 
Of peefpm^ blooms sprinkled its wealth among I 

fThea for Uie winds — what wind that ever raved 
Shall rex that ash which overlooks you both, 
So pnmd it wean its berries ? Ah, at lenprth, 
T%$ (dd smile meet for her^ the lady of this 
Saquestared nest ! — this kmgdom, limited 
Alone l^ one old populous ^reen wall 
I Tensated by the ever-busy flies. 
GtST eriekets and sh^ lizards and quick spiders, 
Emii fusuly of the sdver-threadedf inoss — 
mneh, look tJuoogh near, this way, and it 



appean 
A itabUe-field or a cane-brake, a marsh 
Of bolmah whitening in the sun : laugh now ! 
FiD^ the crickets, each one in his house, 
Looting out, wondering at the world — or best, 
y Yob pamted snail with nis gay shell of dew, 
'hsTcUiiig to see the glossy balls high up 
Hm bj the caterpiUar, like gold lamps. 
Jnn, In truth we have lived carelessly and 

welL 
Par, And shall, my perfect pair! — each, 

trust me, bom 
For the other ; nay, your very hair, when mixed, 
Ii of one hue. For where save in this nook 
&all jxra two -walk, when I am far away. 
And viah me^ prosperous fortune ? Stay : that 

plant 
Shan never wave its tangles lightly and softly, 
Ai a oueen's languid and imperial arm 
Whien sc a t t er s erowns among her lovers, but you 
Shan be reminded to predict to me 
Sonae great success! Ah see, the sun sinks broad 
Behind Siunt Saviour's : wholly gone, at last I 
FestHt. Now, Aureole, stay those wandering 
I eyes awhile I 

I Ton aie ouis to-nig^t, at least ; and while you 

spoke 
Of Hidal and her tears, I thought that none 
' Could wining leave what he so seemed to love : 
fiat that last look destroys my dream — that 
I look 

I As if, where'er yon gazed, there stood a star ! 
Howfarwas Wiirzburg with its church and spire 
And gaidsB-willIs and all things they contain, 
From dttt look's far a%hting ? 

Par. I but spoke 

And looked alike from simple joy to see 
1^ beiqgB I love boost, shut in so well 
From all rude chances like to be my lot, 
piat, when afar, my weary spirit, — disposed 
to lose awhile its care in sootning thoughts 
(X them, their pleasant features, looks and 

words, — 
Keeds never hesitate, nor anprehend 
iKnaching trouble may have reached them 

too, 
Mr have recourse to fancy's busy aid 
Wiashioin even a wish in their oehalf 
l^vad what they possess alreadv here ; 
«it, imobstnictea, may at once forget 
Mf in them, assured how well they fare. 
'■sAe, this Festns knows he holds me one 



Whom quiet and its charms arrest in vain, 
One scarce aware of all the joys I quit, 
Too filled with airy hopes to make account 
Of soft delights his own heart gamers up : 
Whereas behold how much our sense of all 
That 's beauteous proves alike ! When Festus 

learns 
That every common pleasure of the world 
AJffects me as himself ; that I have just 
As varied appetite for joy derived 
From common things ; a stake in life, in shortt 
Like lus ; a stake which rash pursuit of aims 
That life affords not, would as soon destroy ; — 
He may convince himself that, this in view, 
I shall act well advised. And last, because. 
Though heaven and earth and all things were 

at st^e, 
Sweet Michal must not weep, our parting eve. 
Fest, True : and the eve is deepening, and 

we sit 
As little anxious to begin our talk 
As thoi^h to-morrow I could hint of it 
As we p^ced arm-in-arm the cheerful town 
At sun-dawn ; or could whisper it by fits 

S~^rithemius busied with his class the while) 
that dim chamber where the noon-streaks peer 
Half-&ightened by the awful tomes around ; 
Or in some grassy lane unbosom all 
From even-blush to midnight : but, to-morrow ! 
Have I f 1UI leave to tell my inmost mind ? 
We have been brothers, and henceforth the 

world 
Will rise between us : — all my freest mind? 
'T is the last night, dear Aureole ! 

Par. Oh, say on I 

Devise some test of love, some arduous feat 
To be performed for you : say on I If night 
Be spent the while, the better ! Recall how oft 
My wondrous plans and dreams and hopes and 

fears 
Have — never wearied you, oh no ! — as I 
Recall, and never vividly as now, • > - ^ * 

Your true affection, bom when Einsiedeln 
And its green hills were all the world to us ; 
And still increasing to this night which ends 
My further stay at WtLrzburg. Oh, one day 
You shall be very proud I Say on, dear friends ! 
Fest. In truUi ? 'T is for my proper peace, in- 

desd, 

Rather than yours ; for vain all projects seem 

To stay your course : I said my latest hope 

Is fadmg even now. A story tells 

Ck some far embassy despatched to win 

The favor of an eastern king, and how ^ 

The g^ts they offered prov^ but dazzling dust 

Shed from the ore-beds native to his clime. 

Just so, the value of repose and love, 

I meant should tempt you, better far than I 

You seem to comi>rehend ; and yet desist 

No whit from projects where repose nor love 

Has part. • 

Par. Once more ? Alas I As I foretold. 

Fest. A solitary brier the bank puts forth 
To save our swan's nest floating out to sea^. 

Par. Dear Festus, hear me. What is it you 
wish? 
That I should lay aside my heart's pursuit. 
Abandon the sole ends for which I Eve, 



; ^u 



i > *- 



I I 



] 



»4 Q^ 



K.^ 



PARACELSUS 



Reject f^*^'*t^ ip-ftft^. flnTnmiaginn^ and SO die 1 
Yon bid me listen for yonr true loye's sake : 
Tet how has erown that love ? Even in a long^ 
And patient dieriahinfi: of the self-eame snirit 
It now would qnell ; as though a mother noped 
To stay the Insty manhood ot .the child 
Once weak upon her knees.)( VI was not bom 
Informed ana fearless from the first, but shrank 
From ang^ht which marked me out apart from 

men: 
I would hare lived their life, and died their 

death, 
Lost in their ranks, eluding destiny : 
But you first guided me through doubt and fear, 
Taught me to know mankind and know myself ; 
And now that I am strong and full of hope, 
That, from my soul, I can reject all aims 
Save those your earnest words made plain to me, 
Now that I touch the brink of my design, 
When I would have a triumph in their eyes, 
A glad cheer in their voices — Michal weeps. 
And Festus pondeis gravely I 

Feat, When you deign 

To hear my purpose . . . 

Poor, Hear it ? I can say 

Beforehand all this evening^s conference I 
'T is this way, MichaL that he uses : first. 
Or he declares, or I, the leading points 
Of our best scheme of life, what is man's end 
And what God's will ; no two faiths e'er agreed 
As his with mine. Next, each of us allows 
Faith should be acted on as b^st we may ; 
Accordingly. I venture to submit 
Mv plan, m lack of better, for pursuing 
The path which Good's will seems to authorize. 
Well, he discerns much good in it, avows 
This motive worthy, that hope plausible, 
A danger here to be avoided, there 
An oversight to be repaired : in fine. 
Our two minds go together — all the good 
Approved by him, I gladly recognize, 
Allhe counts bad, I thankfully discard, 
And naught forbids my looldng up^ at last 
For some stray comfort in his cautious brow. 
When lo 1 I learn that, spite of all, there lurks 
Some innate and inexplicable germ 
Of failure in my scheme : so that at last 
It all amounts to this — the sovereifni proof 
That we devote ourselves to God, is seen 
In living just as though no God there were ; 
A life which, mompted by the sad and blind 
Folly of man, Festus abhors the most ; 
But which these tenets sanctify at once, 
Though to less subtle wits it seems the same. 
Consider it how they may. 

Mich. Is it so, Festus ? 

He speaks so calmly and kindly : is it so ? 

Par, Reject those glorious visions of Grod's 
love 
And man's design ; laugh loud that God should 

send 
Vast longings to direct us ; say how soon 
Power satiates these, or lust, or gold ; I know 
The world's cry well, and how to answer it. 
~]ut this ambiguous warfare . . . 

Fett, , . . Wearies so 

That you wiU grant no last leave to your friend 
To urge it? — tor his sake, not yours? I wish 



To send my soul in good hopes after yon ; « 
Never to sorrow that uncertain words 
Erring^y apprehended, a new creed 
HI understood, b^ot rash trust in yon, «. . 
Had share in your undoing. 
{ Par. Choose your (nde, 

/ Hold or renounce : but meanwhile blame me noi 
i Because I dare to act on ^our own views, 
1 Nor shrink when they pomt onward, nor espy 
' A peril where they most ensure snocess. 
} Fegt, Prove that to me — but that! Prove 
you abide 
Within their warrant, nor presumptuous boast 
God's labor laid on you ; prove, all vou covet, 
A mortal may expect ; and, most of all. 
Prove the strange course yon now affect, will J 
lead / 

To its attainment — and I bid you speed, f 

Nay, count the minutes till you venture forth I 
You smile ; but I had gathered from slow 

thought — 
Much musing on the fortunes of my Mend — 
Matter I deemed could not be urged in vain ; 
But it all leaves me at my need : in shreds 
And fragments I must venture what remains. 
Mich. Ask at once, Festus, wherefore he 

should scorn. . . . 
Fest. Stay, Michal : Aureole, I speak guard- 
edly 
And ^;ravelv, knowing well, whate'er your error. 
This 18 no ill-considered choice of yours, 
No sudden fancy of an ardent boy. 
Not from your own confiding words alone 
Am I aware yonr passionate heart long since 
Gave birth to, nourished and at lengthinaturea 
This scheme. I will not speak of Euisiedeln, 
Wher^ I was bom your elder bv some years 
Only to watch you fully from the first : 
In all beside, our mutiud tasks were fixed 
Even then — 't was mine to have you in my view 
As ^ou had your own soul and those intents 
Which filled it when, to crown your dearest 

wish. 
With a tumultuous hearty :^ou left with me 
Our childhood's home to join the favored few 
Whom, here, Trithemius condescends to teach. 
A portion of his lore : and not one youth 
Of those so favored, whom you now despise. 
Came earnest as you came, resolved, like yon. 
To grasp all, and retain all, and deserve 
By patient toil a wide renown like his. 
Now, this new ardor which supplants the old 
I watched, too : 't was significant and stranipe. 
In one matchea to his soul's content at length 
With rivals in the search for wisdom's prize. 
To see the sudden pause, the total change ; 
From contest, the transition to repose — 
From pressing onward as his fellows pressed. 
To a blank idleness, yet most unlike 
The dull stagnation of a soul, content. 
Once foiled, to leave betimes a thriveless quest. 
That careless bearing, free from all pretence 
Even of contempt for what it ceasea to seek — 
Smiling humility, praising mudi, yet waiving 
What it professed to praise — though not so weli 
Maintained but that rare outbreaKS, fierce and 

brief. 
Revealed the hidden scorn, as quickly curbed. 



PARACELSUS 



15 



That ostentatioiis show of iMist defeat, 
That ready aoooiesoeiioe in contempt, 
I deemed no ouier than the letting: go 
His aluTered sword, of one abont to sprinsr 
Upon his foe's throat : bat it was not thns : 
Not that way looked yonr brooding purpose 

then. 
For afkeragBB diaelosed, what yon eonfirmed, 
That yon prepared to task to the uttermost 
Tour strength, in fnrt h^tm»pf a certain aim 
Wdeh — wnile it bore tlRriuSneyour rivals gave 
Tlieir own most pony efforts — was so vast 
In Mcape that it included their best flights, ^ 
Comlnned them, and desired to sain one prize 
Li plaee oi many, — the secret of the world. 
Of Ban, and man's troe purpose, path and late. 
' —That yon, not nursing as a mere vague dream 
TUb purpose, with the sages of the past, 
HaTe struck ujion a way to this, if all 
Ton trust he true, which following, heart and 

soul. 
Too, if a man may, dare aspire to know : 
And that this aim shall differ from a host 
Of aims alike in character and kind, 

f Mostly in this, — that in itself alone 
2ftail Its reward be, not an alien end 
W^n'^'wg therewith ; no hope nor fear n<Mr joy 
Xar woe, to elsewhere move you, but this pure 
Devotion to sustain you or betray : 
Thas jon aspire. 

Par. You shall not stato it thus : 

I dkoold not differ from the dreamy crew 
Toa ipeak of. I profess no other share 
la the selection 01 my lot, than this 
, Mr leady answer to the wpl of God 
Woo sommons me to be his organ. All 
Whose innate strength supports them shall sue- 

eeed 
Ko better than the sages. 

Fett. Such the aim, then, 

God sets before you ; and 'tis doubtless need 
That he appmnt no less the way of praise 
Than the desire to praise ; for, though I hold. 
With you, the setting forth such praise to be 
The oatural end and service of a man, 
And hold sndi praise is best attained when man 
Attaxu the general welfare of his kind — 
Tec this, the end, is not the instrument.. 
Pkeswne not to serve God apart froni such 
Appointed channel as he wills shall gather 
[leif eet trihutes, for that sole obedience 
ned perehance I He seeks not that his altars 
eardesB how, so that they do but blaKe. 
^-^g^^^^je this, then ; that God selected you 
m KNOW (heed well your answers, for my faith 
wajl meet implicitly what they affirm), 
*Iesnnot think you dare annex to such 
' Selection aught beyond a steadfast will, 
intense hope ; nor let yonr gifts create 
or neglect of ordinary means 
nerve to success, make destiny 

with man's endeavor. Now, dare you 






^■ruunost heart, and candidly avow^ 
nether you have not rather wild desire 
Mr this dustinction than security 
jKils existence ? whether you discern 
« path to the fulfilment of your purpose 



Clear as that purpose — and a^ain, that purpose 
Clear as your yearning to be smgled out 
For its pursuer. Dare you answer this ? 
Par» (cjfter a pause). No, I have naught to 

fear I Who will may know 
The secret'st workings of my soul. What 

though 
It be so ? — if indeed the strong desire 
Eclipse the aim in me ? — if splendor break 
Upon the outset of my path alone. 
And duskest shade succeed ? What fairer seal 
Shall I require to my authentic mission 
Than this fierce energy ? — this instinct striving 
Because its nature is to strive ? — enticed 
Bv the security of no broad course. 
Without success forever in its eyes I 
How know I else such glorious late my own. 
But in the restless irresistible force 
That works within me ? Is it for human will 
To institute such impulses ? — still less. 
To disregard their promptings I What should I 
Do, kept among you all ; your loves, your cares. 
Tour life — all to be mine ? Be sure that God 
Ne'e r dooms to waste the st^hgtlT he deigns 

'^^^ impart ! ■ - • 

Ask the geier^agle why she stoops at once 

Into the vast and: unexplored abyss. 

What full-grown power informs her from the 

first. 
Why she not marvels, strenuously beating 
The silent boundless regions of the sky ! 
Be sure they sleep not whom God needs ! Nor 

fear 
Their holding light his charge, when every hour 
That finds that charge delayed, is a new death. 
This for the faith in which I trust ; and hence ^ 
rcan'ab jure so weH 't he idl e arts SCo^ 

These pedants strive to learn and teach ; Black 

Arts, 
Qreat Works, the Secret and Sublime,f orsooth — 
Let others prize : too intimate a tie 
Connects me with our God 1 A sullen fiend 
To do my bidding, fallen and hateful sprites 
To help me — what are these, at best, oeside 
Qod helping, God directing everywhere. 
So that the earUi shall yield her secrets up. 
And every object there be charged to strike, 
Teach, gratify her master God appoints ? 
And I am young, my Festus, happy and free I 
I can devote myself ; I have a life 
To give ; I, singled out for this, the One I 
Thmk, think! the wide East, where all Wis- 
dom sprung ; 
The bright South, where she dwelt ; the hopeful 

North, 
All are passed o'er — it lights on me I /T is time 
New hopes should animate the world, new light 
Should dawn from new revealings to a race 
Weighed down so long, forgotten so long ; thus 

shall 
The heaven reserved for us at last receive 
Creatures whom no unwonted splendors blind. 
But ardent to confront the unclouded blaze, 
Whose beams not seldom blessed their pilgrim- 

Not seldom glorified their life below. 
Fest. My words have their old fate and 
make faint stand 




\ 



ji 



i6 



PARACELSUS 



Against yonr glowing periods. Gall this, truth — 
Wny not pursiie it in a fast retreat, 
Some one of Learning's many x>alaces. 
After approved example ? — seeking there 
Calm converse with the great dead, soul to soul, 
Who laid up treasure with the like intent 
— So lift yourself into their airy place, 
And fill out full their unfulfilled careers. 
Unravelling the knots their baffled skill 
Pronounced inextricable, true ! — but left 
Far lees confused. A fresh eye, a fresh hand. 
Might do much at th^ vigor^s waning^point ; 
Succeeding with new-breathed new-hearted 

force. 
As at old games the runner snatched the torch 
From runner still : this way success might be. 
But you have coupled with your enterprise 
An arbitrary self-rept^^iiant scheme 
Of seeking it in strange and untried |>aihs. 
What booKS are in the desert ? Writes the sea 
The secret of her yearning in vast oaves 
Where yours will fall the first of human feet ? 
Has wisdom sat there imd recorded aught 
You press to read ? Why turn aside nnom her 
To visit, where her vesture never glanced. 
Now — solitudes consigned to barrenness 
By God's decree, whicua who shall dare imnugn ? 
Now — ruins where she paused but would not 

stay. 
Old ravaged cities that, renouncinp: her. 
She called an endless curse on, so it came : 
Or worst of all, now — men vou visit, men, 
Ignoblest troops who never heard her voice 
Chr hate it, men trithout one gift from Rome 
Or Athens, — these shall Aureole^s teachers be I 
Reiecting ^ast example, practice, precept. 
Aidless *mid these he thinks to stand alone : 
Thick like a glory round the Stagirite 
Your rivals throng, the sages : here stand you ! 
Whatever you may protest, knowledge is not 
Paramount in vour love : or for her sake 
You would collect all help from every source — 
Rival, assistant, friend, foe, all would merge 
In the broad class of those who showed her 

haunts. 
And those who showed them not. 

Par, What shall I say? 

Festus, from childhood I have been possessed 
By a €ire — by a true fire, or faint or fierce. 
As ^m without some master, so it seemed, 
Repressed or urged its current : this but ill 
Expresses what! would convey : but rather 
I will believe tm am^l ruled me thus, \ 

Than that my soul's own workings, own high^ 

nature, 
So became mianifest. I knew not then 
What whispered in the evening, and spoke out 
At midnight. If some mortal, bom too soon, 
Were laid away in some great trance — the ages 
Oomii^ and going all the while — till dawned 
His true time's advent ; and could tiien record 
The words they spoke who kept watch by his 

bed, — 
Then I might tell more of the breath so light 
Upon my eyelids, and the fingers light 
Among my nair. Youth is confused ; yet never 
So dull was I but, when that spirit passed, 
I turned to him, scarce consciously, as turns 



A wateivsni^e when fairies cross his sleep. 
And having this within me and about me 
While Einsiedeln, its mountains, lakes and 

woods 
Confined me — what oppressive joy was mine. 
When life grew plain, and I nrst viewed ihe 

thronged. 
The everlasting concourse of mankind I 
Believe that ere I joined them, ere I knew 
The purpose of the pageant, or the place 
Consigned me in its ranks — while, just awake, 
Wonder was freshest and delight most pure — 
'T was then that least supportable appeared 
A station with the bright^t of the crowd, 
A portion with the proudest of them all. 
And from the tumult in my breast, this only 
Could I collect, that I must thenceforth die 
Or elevate myself far, far above 

fThe gorgeous spectacle. I seemed to long 
At once to trample on, yet save mankind. 
To make some unexunpled sacrifice 
Li their behalf, to wring some wondrous good 
~^rom heaven or earth for them, to perish, win- 
ning 
temal weal in the act : as who should dare 
luck out the angry thunder from its cdoud. 
That, all its gathered flame dischai^d on him. 
No storm might threaten summer's azure sleep : 
Yet never to be mixed with men so much 
As to have part even in my own work, share 
In my own largess. Once the feat achieved, 
^ would withdraw from their officious praise, 
nld gentiy put aside their profuse tnanks. 
e some knight triCversing a wildemeflS| 
Who, on his way, may chance to free a tnbe 
Of desert-people from their dragon-foe ; 
When all the swarthy race press round to kiss 
Iffis feet, and choose mm for their king, and vield 
I Their poor tents, pitched among tiie sand-hills, 

His realxn : and he points, smiling, to his scarf 
Heavy with riveled gold, his burgonet 
Gay set with twinkling stones — and to the East, 
Where these must be displayed I 

Fest. >G)Ood: let us hear 

No more about your iiature,|n*which first shrank 
From all that marked you out apart from men ! '' 

Par. I touch on that ; these words but analyze 
The first mad impulse : 't was as brief as fond. 
For as I gazed again upon the show, 
I soon diBtinguished here and there a shape 
Palm-wreathed and radiant, forehead and full 

eye. 
Well pleased was I their state should thus at onoe 
Interpret ray own thoughts : — *^ Behold the due 
To all," I rashly said, '^ and what I pine 
To do, these have accomplished : we are peen. 
They know and therefore rule : I, too, will 

know I " "• 

You WBffe beside me, Festus, as you say ; 
You saw me plunge in their pursuits whom fame 
Is lavish to attest the lords of mind^ 
Not pausing to make sure the prize m view 
Would satiate my cravings when obtained, 
But since they strove I strove. 'Then came a 

slow 
And straneUx^S fsHnre. We aspired alike, 
Yet not^kL vic&i^^^ plodder, Tritheim counts 



K-^ Kir . , >. ''^ ]^^^ 



I 



PARACELSUS 



17 



A murrel, bat was all-soffioient, stioiig 
€^ staggered only at his own yast wits ; 
"WIuleT was resueas, nothing satisfied, 
IKstmstfoI, most perplexed. I wonld slur oyer 
That strng^le ; snmoe it, that I loathed myself 
As we^ compared with them, yet felt somehow 
A mi|^t7 power was brooding, taking shape 
Widun me ; and this lasted tdl one night 
Wbm, as I sat reyolying it and more, 
A stiU yoice from without said — *' Seest thoa 

not, 
Despondiiqc child, whence spring defeat and 

loss? 
Even from thy strength. Consider : hast thon 

gazed 
IVesmnptnomly on wisdom^s oonntenanoe. 
Kg yeil oetween ; and can thy faltering hands, 
Ungmded by the brain the sight absorbs, 
pDzsae their task as earnest blinkers do 
Vnum radiance ne'er distracted ? Liye their life 
If tfaoa wouldat share their fortune, choose their 

eyes 
Unfed by splendor. Let each task present 
I Iti petty good to thee. Waste not thy gifts 
iln ptofitleas waiting for the gods' descent, 
I But haye some idol of thine own to dress 
(With thor array. Ejiow,not for knowing's sake, 
I But to become a star to men f oreyer ; 
[fimw, for the gain it ge^, the praise it brings, 
! The wonder it inspires, the loye it breeds : 
Look one step onward, and secure that step I " 
And I gwiiU^H as one neyer smiles but once, 
,Then first disooyering my own aim's extent. 
Which sought to oomorehend the works of God, 
And God hmiself ,'ltna all God's intercourse 
IRth thebuman mind ; I understood, no less, 
"Mj Idlows' studies, whose true worth I saw. 
Bat smiled not, well aware who stood by me. 
And lofter came the yoice — '^ There is a way : 
T is hard for flesh to tread therein, imbued 
With frailty — hoi>eless, if indulgence first 
Bav e ripened inborn germs of sin to strength : 
Wilt thon adyentare for my sake and man's, 
Anaitfrom all reward?" Ajid last it breathed — 
~ Be happy, my good soldier ; I am by thee, 
fie sore, eyen to the end I " — I answered not, 
Xaowing him. As he spoke, I was endued 
With comprehension and a steadfast will ; 
And when he ceased, my brow was sealed his 

own. 
II there took plaee no special chaiu^e in me, 
flow comes it all things wore a different hue 
^heneeforward ? — pregnant with yast oonse- 

qoenocL 
Teeming with grand result, loaded with &te ? 
^3|t]iat when, quailing at the mighty ranee 
leeret troths which yearn for biith, Lbaate 
contemplate nndazzled some one truth, 
bearinigB and effects alone — at once 
. jat was a speck expands into a star, 
fffcing a life to pass exploring thus, 
I near craze. I go to proye my soul ! 
ne my way as birds their trackloES wi^. 
ahall arriye ! what time, what circuit first, 
ask not : bnt unless God send his hail 
OrUindiiig fireballs, sleet or stiflii^ snow, 
^sometime, hia good time, I sh^ arriye : 

me aiMithe bird. In his good time I 



Mich, Vex him no further, Festus ; it is so ! 

Fest. ,Just thus you help me eyer. This 
would hold 
Were it the trackless air, and not a path 
Inyiting you, dirtinct with footprints yet 
Of many a mighty marcher gone tbat way. 
You may haye purer yiews than theirs, perhaps. 
But they were famous in their day — me proofs 
Remain. At least accent the light they lend. 

Par, Their light ! tne sum of all is briefly 
this: 
They labored and ^rew famous, and the fruits 
Are best seen in a dark and groaning earth 
Giyen oyer to a blind imd endless strife 
With eyils, what of all their lore abates ? 
No : I reject and spurn them utterly 
And all tney teach. Shall I still sit beside 
Their dry wells, with a white lip and filmed eye. 
While in the distance heayen is blue aboye 
Mountains where sleep the unsunned tarns ? 

Fest. And yet 

As strong delusions haye preyailed ere now. 
Men haye set out as gallantly to seek 
Their ruin. I haye heard 01 such : yourself 
Ayow all hitherto haye failed and fallen. 

Mich. Nay, Festus, when but as the pilgrims 
faint 
Through the drear way, do you expect to see 
Their city dawn amid the clouds afar ? 

Par, Ay, sounds it not like some old well- 
known tale ? 
For me, I estimate their works and them 
So rightly, that at times I almost dream 
I too haye spent a life the sages' way. 
And tread once more familiar paths, r^erchanoe 
I perished in an arrogant self-reliance 
Ages ago ; and in that act, a prayer 
For one more chance went up so earnest, so 
Instinct with better light let in by death, 
That life was blotted out — not so completely 
But scattered wrecks enough of it remain. 
Dim memories, as now, when once more seems 
The goal in sight again. All which, indeed. 
Is foolish, and only means — the flesh I wear. 
The earth I tread, are not more clear to me 
Than my belief, explained to you or no. 

Fest. And who am I, to challenge and dis- 
pute 
That clear belief ? I will diyest all fear. 

Mich. Then Aureole is God's commissary I 
he shall 
Be great and grand — and all for us I 

Par, No, sweet ! . 

Not great and grand. If I can serve mankind i 
'Tis well I but there our intercourse must end : ( 
I neyer will be served by those I serve. 

Fest. Look well to this ; here is a plague- 
spot, here, 
Disjguise it how you may ! 'T is true, you utter 
Tins scorn while by our side and lovii^r QS ; 
'T is but a spot as yet : but it will break 
Into a hideous blotch if overlooked. 

KHow can that course be safe which from the first I 
Produces carelessness to human love ? ' ^ 

It seems you have abjured the helps which men 
Who overpass their kind, as you would do, 
Have humbly sought; I dsae not thoroughly 
probe 



i8 



PARACELSUS 



/ 



This matter, lest I learn too much. Let be 
That popular praise would little instigate 
Your efforts, nor particular approval 
Reward you ; put reward aside ; alone 
Tou shall go forth upon your arduous task^ 
None shall assist you, none partake your toil, ^ 
None share your triumph : still you must retain 
Some one to cast your glory on, to share 
Tour rapture with. Were I elect like you, 
I would encircle me with love, and raise 
A rampart of my fellows ; it should seem 
Lnpossible for me to fail, so watched 
By gentle friends who made my cause their 

own. 
They should ward off fate's envy — the great 

gift, 
Extravagant when claimed by me alone, 
Being so a gift to them as well as me. 
If damger daunted me or ease seduced. 
How calmlv their sad eyes should gaze re- 
proach! 

Mien, O Aureole, can I sing when all alone, 
Without first calling, in my fancy, both 
To listen by my side — even 1 1 And you ? 
Doyou not feel this ? Say that you feel this ! 

Par, I feel 'tis pleasant that my aims, at 
lengthy 
Allowed their weight, should be supposed to 

need 
A further strei^rthening in these goodly helps ! 
My coutse allures for its own sake, its sole 
Litrinsic wortii ; and ne'er shall boat of mine 
Adventure forth for gold and apes at once. 
Tour sages say, *'*' if human, therefore wefijs,; 
If weak, more need to give myself entire 
To my pursuit ; and by its side, all else . . . 
No matter I I deny myself but little 
In waiving all assistance save its own. 
Would there were some real sacdfice to make !^ 
Your friends the sages threw their joys away, | 
While I must be content with keeping mine, i 

Feat, But do not cut yourself from human 
weal I 
Tou cannot thrive — a man that dares effect 
To spend his life in service to his kind 
For no reward of theirs, unbound to them 
By any tie ; nor do so. Aureole I No — 
There are strange punishments for such. Gtive 

up 
(Although no visible good flow thence) some 

part 
Of the glory to another ; hiding thus, 
Even from yourself, that all is for yourself. 
Say, say almost to God — ** I have done all 
For her, not for myself I " 

Par. ^ ^ ^ And who but lately 

Was to rejoice in my success like you ? 
Whom should I love but both of you ? 

Fest, I know not : 

But know thisj you, that 't is no will of mine 
You should abjure the lofty claJjons you make ; 
And this the cause — I can no longer seek 
To overlook the truth, that there would be 
A monstrous spectacle upon the earth. 
Beneath the pleasant sun, among the tteea : 
— A being Imowing not what love is. Hear 

me! 
You are endowed with faculties which bear 




Annexed to them as 't were a dispensation 
To summon meaner spirits to do their will 
And gather round them at their need ; inspiiing 
Such with a love themselves can never feel. 
Passionless 'mid their jMissionate votaries. 
I know not if you joy m this or no. 
Or ever dream that common men can live 
On objects you prize lighUy, but which make 
Their neart's sole treasure : the affections seem 
Beauteous at most to you, which we must taste 
Or die : and this strange quality accords, 
I know not how, with you ; sits well upon 
That luminous brow, though in another it 

scowls 
An eating brand, a shame. I dare not judge 

you. 
The rules of right and wrong thus set aside. 
There 's no alternative — I own you one 
Of higher order, under other laws 
Than bind us ; therefore, curb not one bold 

glance! 
'T is best aspire. Once mingled with us all . . . 
Mich. Stay with us, Aureole! cast those 
r hopes away, 

CAnd stay with us ! An angel warns m^ too, 
jBtf an should be humble ; you are very proud : 
^And God, dethroned, has doleful plagues for 

such ! 
^ Warns me to have in dread no quick repulse. 
No slow defeat, but a complete success : 
You will find all you seek, and perish so I 
Par, {c^fter a pause). Are tnese the bazren 
first-fruits of my quest ? 
Is love like this the natural lot of all ? 
'' How many years of pain mis-ht one such hour 
jf O'erbaJance ? Dearest Micnal, dearest Festns, 
I What shall I say, if not that I desire 
To justify your love ; and will, dear friends, 
In swervmg nothing from my nrst resolves. 
See, the ereat moon ! and ere the mottled owls 
Were wide awake, I was to go. It seems 
You acquiesce at last in all save this — 
If I am like to compass what I seek 
By the untried career I choose ; and then. 
It that career, making but small account 
Of much of life's delight, will yet retain 
Sufficient to sustain my soul : for thus 
I understand these fond f efurs just expressed. 
And first ; the lorftypou praise and I neglect, \ 
The labors and tne precepts of old time, 1 

I have not lightiy oisesteemed. But, friends, 
iTruth is within ourselves ; it takes no rise *—- ' 
■ From outward things, whate'er you may be- 
' lieve. 

- There is an buQost CMitreixu^s all,^^ < 

WherS* trutk^indes m Fiilness ; " ana around, / 
Wall upon w£ul, the gross HeiEdi hems it in, / 
This perfect, clear percep tion — which is tnLtlQ| 
, AlsaMing and~perVAUtllig carnal mesh" | 

' Binds it, luid makea all error : and, toJUrow, 
Rather consists in opening out a way 
Wbence the imprisoned splendor. nuQCx^Bcape, 
Thatr iu eff e cting entry for a light 
Supposed to be without. Watch narrowly 
The demonstration of a tmth, its birth. 
And you trace back the effluence to its spring 
And source within us ; where broods radiance 
vast, 



\/ 



y 



^v 



.\ 



PARACELSUS 



Tobe elidted ny by ray, as ohimoe 

SkllfBTor: chaiioe — xor hitiierto, your sage 

EWlTEe knows not how those beams are 

bom, 
Ai fittle knows he what milooks their fount : 
Asd men hsTe <^ grown old among their books 
To (Be esBe-hordeiied in their ignorance, 
Whonciureless youth had promistd what long 

yean 
Of unremitted labor ne'er performed : 
Winle, oantnry, it has chanoed some idle day, 
To utmnn loiterers just as faniw^free 
As^ midges in the snn, gives birth at last 
To truth — produced mvsterionaly as cape 
Of dood grown out of the invisible air. ^ 
Hence, may not truth be lodged alike in allf 
1^ lowest as the highest ? some slight film 
Tbemterposiiig bar which binds i^ %pii| 
And makes th e idiot , just asmakes the safg^ 
Sane film removed, the happv outlet wKenoe 
IWh imies proudly ? See this soul of ours ! 
Bow it strives weaklv in the child, is loosed 
h manhood, dogged by sickness, back oom- 



||r^ and waste, set free at last by death : 
Wby is it. flesh enthralls it or enthrones ? 
Wm is this flesh we have to penetrate ? 
Oh, not slone whoi life flows still, do truth 
^ mer.. emeri^, but also when Strange 

dasDoe "' 
n^esitseorrent; in unused conjuncture, 
What sicknesB breaks the boay — hunger, 

watchmg, 
fixeeaorUuignor — oftenest death's approach, 
nril, deep joy or woe. One man shall crawl 
^uongjb Hfe surrounded with all stirring things, 
Unmored; and he goes mad: and m>m tae 

meek 
Of vhsthe was, by his wild talk alone, \ 
loo&it coDeot how great a spirit he hid. • 
Awrefore, set free the soul alike in all, >., . 
MHorering the true laws by which the flesfaij^ 
moya the spirit I We may not be doomed 
Toeope with seraphs, but at least the rest 
«an eope with us. Make no more giants, Godi/ 
Bit elevate the race at once I We ask 1 

To put forth just our strength, our human 

stnogdi, 
^■tsrtiog fairly, all equipped alike, 
TOted alike, all eagle-eyed, true-hearted — 
See n ve cannot beat tmne angels 3ret I 
jU ii mv task. I go to gather this 
|he8Bcred knowledge, here and there disnersed 
^hovt the world, long lost or never f ouna. 
w^whj should I be sad or lorn of hope ? 
'2^7 ever make man's good distinct from God's^ 
finding they are one, why dare mistrust ? / 
oahaUsuoeBed if not one pledged like me r 
, ^^i » no mad attempt to build a world 
0Vt from his, like tnoee who set themselves 
yfad the nature of the spirit they bore, 
^ii, taog^ betimes that all their gorgeous 
^ dreams 

g*o nly bom to vanish in this life, 
Pond to fit them to its narrow sphere, 
' {>Aose to figure forth another world 
4|" ether fram^es meet for their vast desires, — 
"Valladream ! Thus was life scorned ; but life 



1 



19 



Shall yet be crowned : twine amaranth 1 I am 

Jriestl^ ^ — • 

for yielding with a lively spirit 
A poor existence, parting with a youth 
Like those who squander eveiy energy 
Convertible to good, on painted toys. 
Breath-bubbles, gilded dust I And though I 

spurn 
All adventitious aims, from empty praise 
To love's award, yet whoso deems such helps 
Important, and concerns himself for me, 
Ma^ know even these will fallow with the rest — 
As in the steady rolling Mayne. asleep 
Yonder, is mixed its mass of acnistons ore. 
My own affections, laid to rest awhile. 
Will waken purified, subdued alone 
Bv all I have achieved. Till then — till then . . . 
Ah, the time-wiling loitering of a page 
Through bower and over lawn, till eve shall 

bring 
The stately lady's presence whom he loves — 
The broken sleep oil the fisher whose rough coat 
Enwraps the queenly pearl — these are faint 

types! 
See, see, they look on me ; I triumph now I 
But one thing, Festus, Michal 1 I have told J 
All I shall e'er disclose to mortal : say — / 
Doyou believe I shall accomplish this ? / 
Fest. I do believe I 

Mich. I ever did believe ! 

Par. Those words shall never fade from out 

my brain ! 
This earnest of the end shall never fade I 
Are there not, Festus, are there not, dear 

Michal, 
Two points in the adventure of the diver. 
One — when, a beggar, he prepares to plunge, 
One — when, a prince, he rises with his pearl ? 
Festus, I plunge 1 
Fest. We wait you when you rise ! 



II. PARACELSUS ATTAINS 

Bom, Comtantinople : the house of a Cfreek caterer. 

1621. 

Pajugblsus. 

Over the waters in the vaporous West 
The sun soes down as in a sphere of gold 
Behind the arm of the city, which between, 
With all that length of domes and minarets. 
Athwart the splendor, black and crooked runs 
Like a Turk verse alon^ a scimitar. 
There lie, sullen memorial, and no more 
Pomess my aching sight I 'T is done at last. 
Strange — and the juggles of a sallow cheat 
Have won me to this act ! 'T is as yon cloud 
Should voyage unwrecked o'er many a moun- 

tain-top 
And break upon a molehill. I have dared 
Come to a pause with knowledge : scan for once 
The heights already reached, without regard 
To the extent above ^ fairly compute 
All I have clearly gamed : for once excluding 
A brilliant future to supply and perfect 
All haJf -gains and conjectures and crude hopes : 
And all ^oanse a fortune-teller wiJJs 



20 



PARACELSUS 



orednloiu seekers should inscribe thus 
much 
Their preyions lifers attamment, in his roll, 
Before his promised secret, as he vaimts, 
Make up the sum : and here, amid the scrawled 
Uncouth recordings of the dapes of this 
Old aroh'f;enethliac, lie my lifers results I 

A lew blurred characters suffice to note 
A stranger wandered long through many lands 
And reaped the fruit he coveted in a few 
Discoyeries, as appended here and there, 
The fragmentai^ produce of much toil. 
In a dim heap, tact and surmise together 
Confusedly massed as when aoquir^ ; he was 
Intent on ^fun to come too mncii to stay 
And scrutmize the little gained : the whole 
Slipt in the blank space 'twizt an i<Uot^s gibber 
^ And a mad lover^s ditty — there it lies. 

And yet those blottings chronicle a life — 
A whole life, and my life I Nothing to do, 
No problem for the fancy, but a life 
Spent and decided, wasted past retrieve 
Or worthy beyond peer. Stay, what does this 
Remembrancer set down concerning " life " ? 
^.-^t* * Time fleets, youth fades, life is an empty 
dream,' 
It is the echo of time ; and he whose heart 
Beat first beneath a human heart, whose speech 
Was copied from a human tongue, can never 
Recall when he was living yet knew not this. 
Nevertheless long seasons j^ass o'er him 
Till some one hour's experience shows what no- 
thing, 
It seemed, could clearer show ; and ever after. 
An altered brow and eye and gait and speech 
Attest that now he knows the ada^e true, 
^Time fleets, vouth fades, life is an empty 
dream.' '' 

Ay, mv brave chronicler, and this same hour 
As well as any : now, let my time be I 

Now I I can go no farther ; well or ill, 
'T is done, i must desist and take my chance. 
I cannot keep on the stretch : 't is no back- 
shrinking — 
For let but some assurance beam, some dose 
To my toil grow visible, and I proceed 
At anr price, though closing it, I die. 
I Else, here I pause. The old Greek's prophecy 
I Is like to turn out true : ^* I shall not quit 
His chamber till I know what I desire I " 
Was it the light wind sang it o'er the sea ? 

An end, a rest ! strange how the notion, once 
'^* £^countered, gathers strength by moments I 

Rest! 
Where has it kept so long ? this throbbing brow 
To cease, this beating heart to cease, all cruel 
And gnawing thoughts to cease I To dare let 

down 
My strung, so high-strung brain, to dare unnerve 
My harassed overtasked frame, to know my 

place, 
My portion, my reward, even my failure. 
Assigned, made sure forever I To lose myself 



Among the common creatures of the world. 
To draw some gain from having been a man. 
Neither to hope nor fear, to live at length I 
, Even in failure, rest ! But rest in truth 
And paWBt and recompense ... I hoped that 
once I 

What, sunk insensiblv so de^ ? Has all 
Been undergone for this ? This the request 
My labor qualified me to present 
With no fear of refusal ? Had I gone 
Slightingly through my task, and so judged fit 
To moderate my hopes ; nay, were it now 
My sole concern to exculpate myself. 
End things or mend tiiem, — why, I could not 

choose 
A humbler mood to wait for the event I 
No, no, there needs not this ; no, after all, 
At worst I have performed my share of the 

The rest is God's concern ^ mine, merely this, l 
'Tb know that I have obstinately held I 

By my own work. The mortal whose brave fool 
Has trod, unscathed, the temple-court so far 
That he descries at length the Murine of shrines. 
Must let no sneering of the demons' eyes. 
Whom he could pass unquailing, fasten now 
Upon him, fairly past their power ; no, no — 
He must not stagger, faint, fall down at last. 
Having a charm to baffle tnem ; b^old. 
He baKs his front : a mortal ventures thus 
Serene amid the echoes, beams and glooms ! 
If 'he be priest henceforth, if he wake up 
The god of theplaoe to ban and blast him there. 
Both well I What 's^ failure or success to me ? 
I have subdued my life to tJie one purpose 
Whereto I ordained it ; there alone I spy. 
No doubt, that way I may be satisfied. 

Yes, well have I subdued my life I beyond 
The obligation of my strictest vow, 
The contemplation of my wildest bond, 
Which p;ave my nature treely up, in truth. 
But in its actual state, consentiiig fully 
All passionate impulses its soil was formed 
To rear, should wither ; but foreseeing not 
The tract, doomed to perpetual barrennesB, 
Would seem one day, remembered as it was. 
Beside the parched sand-waste which now it ia, 
Already strewn with faint blooms, viewless then. 
I ne'er engaged to root up loves so frail 
I felt them not ; yet now, 't is very plain 
Some soft spots had their birth in me at first. 
If not love, say, like love : there was a time 
When yet this wolfish hunger after knowledfi;e 
Set not remorselessly love's claims aside. 
This heart was human once, or why reoalL <..,^ 
Einsiedeln, noW| and Wiirzbiuig which uie 

Mavne 
Forsakes ner course to fold as with an arm ? 

And Festus — my poor Festus, with his nraise 
And counsel and grave fears — where is ne ncrw 
With the sweet maiden, long ago his bride f 

y I surely loved them — that last night, at least, 

H When we . . . gone I gone I the better. £ 

I* saved^ 

I The sad review of an ambitions youth 



PARACELSUS 



21 



Qioked by vile lusts, nnootioed in their birth, 
But let grow np and wind around a will 
Till aodon was destroyed. No, I have gone 
Purging my path snooesaively of aught 
Weuii^ Uie distinct likeness of su^ lusts. 
I hare made life consist of one idea : "^^^ 
£n that was master, up till that was bom, 
I bear a memory of a pleasant life 
Whne small events I treasure ; till one mom 
I isn oW the seven little grassy fields. 
Startling the flocks of nameless birds, to tell 
Pbor Festus, leaping all the while for joy, 
To leave all trouble for my future plans, 
Sboe I had just determined to become 
Thfi greater and most glorious man on earth. 
And linoe that mom all life has been forgotten : 
All is one day, one onlv step between 
The oatset and the end : one tyrant all- 
Absorbing aim fills up the interspace. 
One Tast unbroken chain of thought, kept up 
Hmmgh a career apparently adverse 
To its existenee : lire, death, light and shadow, 
lie dwws of the world, were bare receptacles 
(k indices of truth to be wrun^ thence, 
Not ministerB of sorrow or deb^ht : 
A Tondrous natural robe in which she went.c 
• F<v8(Mne one truth would dimly beacon me \ 
From mountains rough with pines, and flit anM 

vink 
O'er Haryiling wastes of frozen snow, and tremble 
Into assurea light in some branchii^ mine 
Where ripens, swathed in fire, the liquid gold — 
And all tne beauty, all the wonder fell 
Ob other ride the truth, as its mere robe ; /' 
I aee the robe now — then I saw the form. ^ 
So far, then, I have vo^^aged with success, 
So mneh is good, then, in this working sea 
Wlneh parts me from that happy strip of land : 
Bat o'er that happy strip a sun shone, too ta»^ 
And fainter gleams it as the waves grow rough. 
And still more faint as the sea widens ;^ last 
I sicken on a dead grulf streaked with light 
From its own putrefying depths alone. 
Then, God was pledged to take me by the hand ; 
Kow, any miserable iu^le can bid 
Hy jmde depart. All is alike at length : . 
God may take pleasure in confounding pride / 
By hiding: secrets with the scorned and base -f- 
I am here, in short : so little have I paused 
HmMiS^umt ! I never glanced behind to know 
If I had kept xn^ primu light from wane. 
And thus insensibly am — what I am I 

Ob, hitter ; very bitter ! 

And more bitter. 
To fear a deeper curse, an inner ruin, 
Hsgne beneath plafue, the last turning the first 
& ^jit beside its oarkness. Let me weep 
jjiryoirth and its brave hopes, all dead and gonei 
which bum ! Would I were sure to win 
startlinfiT secret |n their stead, a tincture ] 
to flush old age with youth, or breed / 
or imprison moonbeams till they change/ 
shafts ! — only that, hurling it \ 

back, I might convince myself f 

remained supreme and pure^ as ever ! / 1 
1^. .«rW, why not desire, for mankind's sak^ 
OK if I fafl, some fault may be the cause. 





That, though I sink, another may succeed ? I 
O God, the despicable heart of us I ' 

Shut out this hideous mockery from my heart I i 



'T was politic in you. Aureole,^ to reject 
Single rewards, and ask them in the lump ; 
At all events, once launched, to hold straight on : 
For now 't is all or nothing. Mighty profit 
Your gains will bring if they stop short of such 
Full coiisummation ! As a man, you had ""^ 
A certain snare of strength ; and that is gone 
Already in the getting these you boast. 
Do not they seem to laugh, as who should say — 
** Great master, we are here indeed, dragged 

forth 
To %ht ; this hast thou done : be glad I Now, 

seek 
The strength to use which thou hast spent in 

gettmgl" 

And yet 't is much, surely 't is very much. 
Thus to have emptied youth of all its gifts, 
^ To feed a fire meant to hold out till mom 
j Arrived with inexhaustible light ; and lo, 
I have heaped up my last, and day dawns not ! 
And I am left with gray hair, faded hands. 
And furrowed brow. Ha, have I, after all, ""^^ 
Mistaken the wild nursling of mv breaa t ? 
Knowledge it seemecl, ana power , and 'recom - • 
""^ensel ^ 

Was sBS^ho glided through my room of nights. 
Who laid my head on her soft kne^ and 

smoothed 
The damp locks, — ^whose sly soothings just began 
When my sick spirit craved repose awhile — 
Gk)d I was I fighting sleep off tor death's sake ? 

God ! Thou art mipd ! Unto the master-mind ; 
Mind should be precioas. Spare my mind alone I j 
AU else I will endure ; if , as I stand ^ / 

Here, with my gains, thy thunder smite me 

down, 
I bow me ; 't is thy will, thy righteous will ; 
I o'erpass life's restrictions, and I die ; 
And ii no trace of my career remain 
Save a thin corpse at pleasure of the wind 



.y 




My once proud spirit forsake me at the la^ 

Hast thou done well by me ? So do not thou ! 

Cmdi not my mind, dear God, thoi^h I be 
crushed! 

Hold me before the freouence of thy seraphs 

And say, — ** I crushed nim, lest he should dis- 
turb 

My law. Men must not know their strength : 
behold. 

Weak and alone, how he had raised himself ! " 

But if delusions trouble me, and thou. 
Not seldom felt with rapture in thy help 
Throughout my toils and wandermgs, dost in- 
tend 
To work man's welfare through my weak en- 
deavor. 
To crown my mortal forehead with a beam 
From thine own blinding crown, to smile, and 
guide 




\ 



22 



PARACELSUS 




This pnnv hand aod let the work so wxongfat 
Be styled mr work, — hear me I I covet not 
An kmux of new power, an angel's soul : 
It were no marvei then — bat I hare reached 
Tims far, a man ; let me condnde, a man I 
Giye but one hour of my first energy, 
Of that invincible faith, but only one 1 
That I may cover with an eag^le-glanoe 
The truths I have, and spy some certain way 
To mould them, and completing them, possess ! 

Tet God is good : I started sure of that. 
And why dispute it now ? I 'U not believe 
But some undoubted warning long ere this 
Had reached me : a fire-labarum was not deemed 
Too much for the old founder of these walls. 
Then, if my life has not been natural. 
It has been monstrous : yet, till late, my course 
So ardently engnroased me, that delight, 
A i>ausing and reflecting joy, 't is plain, 
Could find no place in it. True, I am worn ; 
But who clothes summer, who is life itself? 
God, that created aU things, can renew I 
And liien, though after-liie to please me now 
Must have no likeness to the past, what hinders 
Reward from springing out of toil, as chained 
As bursts the flower from earth and root and 

stalk? 
What use were punishment, unless some sin 
Be first detectea ? let me Imow that first I 
No man could ever offend as I have done . . . 
^^ • {A voice from tDit/dn.) 

I hear a voice, perchance I heard 
Long ago, but all too lowj 
So that scarce a care it stirred 
If the voice were real or no : 
I heard it in my youth when first 
The waters of my life outburst : 
But, now their stream ebbs faint, I hear 
That voice, still low, but fatal-dear — 
As if all poets, God ever meant 
Should save the world, and therefore lent 
Chreat fififts to, but who, proud, refused 
To do his work, or lightly nsea 
Those gifts, or failed throueh weak endeavor, 
So, mourn cast off by him forever, — 
As if these leaned in airy ring 
To take me ; this the song they sing. 



ti 



Lost, lost ! yet come. 
With our wan troop make thy home. 
Come, come I for we 
Will not breathe, so much as breathe 
Reproach to thee. 

Knowing what thou sink^st beneath. 
, So sank we in those old vears, 
We who bid thee, come t thou last 
Who, living yet, hast life overpast. 
And altogether we, thy peers. 
Will pardon crave for thee, the last 
Whose trial is done, whose lot is cast 
With those who watch but work no more, 
Who gaze on life but live no more. 
Tet we trusted thou shouldst speak 
The message which our lips, too weak. 
Refused to utter, — shouldst redeem 
Our fault : such trust, and all a dream ! 
Yet we chose thee a birthplace 



Where the richness ran to flowers : 
Couldst not sing one song for grace ? 
Not make one blossom man*8 and onus? 
Must one more recreant to his race 
Die with unezerted powers. 
And join us. leaving as he found 
The world, ne was to loosen, bound? 
Anguish I ever and forever ; 
SdU beginning, ending never 1 
Tet, lost and last one, come I 
How couldst understand, alas, 
What our pale ghosts strove to say. 
As their shades did glance and pass 
Before thee mght and day? 
Thou wast blind as we were dumb : 
Once more, therefore, come, O come ! 
How should we clothe, how arm the Bpixit 
Shall next thy poet of life inherit — 
How guard him from thy speedy ruin ? 
Tell us of thy sad undoing 
Here, where we sit, ever pursuing 
Our weary task, ever r^iewinf 
Sharp sorrow, far from God wno gave 
Our powers, and man they could not save ! " 
(Apbilb enters.) 
Ha, ha I our king that wouldst be, here at last? 
Art thou the poet who shall save the world ? 
Thy hand to mine I Stay, fix thine eyes on 

mine! 
Thou wouldst be king ? Still fix thine eyes on 
mine I 
Par, Ha, ha I why crouohest not? Am I 
not king ? 
So torture is not wholly unavailing I 
Ebive my fierce spasms compelled thee from 

thy lair? 
Art thou the sage I only seemed to be, 
l^rself of after-time, my very self 
With sight a little clearer, strength more firm. 
Who robes him in my robe and grasps my 

crown 
For just a fault, a weakness, a neglect ? 
I scarcely trusted God with the surmise 
That such niight come, and thou didst hear 
the while ! 
Aprils, Thine eyes are lustreless to mine: 
my hair 
Is soft, nay silken soft : to talk with thee 
Flushes my cheek, and thou art ashy-pale. 
Truly, thou hast labored, hast withstood her 

lips, 
The siren^s ! Yes, *t is like thou hast attiiined I 
Tell me, dear master, wherefore norw thou 

comest ? 
I thought thy solemn songs would have ihxax 

meed 
In after-time ; that I should hear the earth 
Exult in thee and echo with thy praise. 
While I was laid forgotten in my grave. 
Par. Ah fiend, i know thee, I am not tlij 
dupe! 
Thou art ordained to follow in my traelc. 
Reaping my sowing, as I scorned to reap 
The harvest sown by sages passed away. 
Thou art the sober searoner, cautious striver. 
As if, except through me, thou hast searchet 

or striven I 
Ay, tell the world ! Degrade me after all. 



PARACELSUS 



23 



To an aqiinmt after iianie, not truth — 
To an bat envy of thv fate, be sure I 
Apr, Nay, ang them to me ; I shall envy 
not: 
Thou ahalt be "king I Sing thon, and I will sit 
Beside, and call deep silenoe for thy songs. 
And vozship thee, as I had ne'er been meant 
To fin thy uirone : but none shall ever know ! 
Sing to me ; for already thy wild eyes 
Unbek my heart-strings, as some crystal-shaft 
Reveab by some chance blaze its parent fount 
After long time : so thou reveal'st my soul. 
AD will flash forth at last, with thee to hear I 
Par. (His secret! I shall get his secret — 
fool I) 
I am he that aspired to know : and thou ? 
Apr, I would liOVE infinitely, and be loved I 
Par. Poor slave ! I am thy kmgf indeed. ^ 
Apr. ^ ^ Thou deem'st 

Tliat —bom a spirit, dowered even as thou. 
Bom for thy fate — because I could not curb 
Uj yeamiij^ to possess at once the full 
Eni^yment, but neglected all the means 
Of realixing even tne frailest joy, 
^Aennf no fragments to appease iBjr want, 
let nursing np that w^ant till thus i die — 
Hum deem'st I cannot trace thy safe sure 

march 
OV perils that overwhelm me, triumphing, 
Kegieeting naught below for aught above, 
Deqiiaing nothing and ensuring all — 
Nor that I could (my time to come again) 
Lead thus mv spirit securely as thine own. 
lirteo, and tiiou shalt see I know thee well. 
Iwonld love infinitely . . . 
• . . *,/j -» Ah, lost I lost I 

Oh ye who armed me at such cost. 
How shall I look on all of ye 
With your ^ts even yet on me ? 
Pa: (Ah, 'tis some moonstruck creature 
after all I 
Soeh fond fools as are like to haunt this den: 
They spread contagion, doubtless: yet he 

seemed 
To edio one foreboding of my heart 
So truly, that ... no matter I How he stands 
With eve's last sunbeam staying on his hair 
Whieh turns to it as if they were akin : 
And those dear smiling eyes of saddest blue 
Nearly aet free, so far they^ rise above 
The painful fmitlees striving of the brow 
A»l enforoed knowledge of the lips, firm-set 
la alow despondency's eternal sign I 
Has he, too, missed life's end, and learned the 

cause?) 
I charge thee, by thy fealty, be calm ! 
teil me what thou wouldst be, and what I am. 

Apr. I would love infinitely, and be loved. 
loit : I would carve in stone, or cast in brass, I 
lonns of earth. ^ No ancient hunter lifted 
to the eods by his renown, no nymph 
mI uie sweet soul of a woodland tree 
^hizine spirit of a twilight star, 
be too hard for me ; no shepherd-king 
far his white locks ; no youth who 
stands 

and vetv calm amid the throng, 
t hand ever hid beneath his robe 




Until the tyrant pass ; no lawgiver. 
No swan-soft woman rubbed with lucid oils 
Griven by a god for love of her — too hard ! 
Every passion sprung from man, conceived by 

man, 
Would I express and clothe it in its right form, 
Or blend with others struggling in one form. 
Or show repressed bv an ungainly form. 
Oh, if you marvelleo at some mighty sjorit 
With a fit frame to execute its will — 
Even unconsciously to work its will — 
Ton should be moved no less beside some strong 
Rare spirit, fettered to a stubborn body. 
Endeavoring to subdue it and inform it 
With its own splendor I ^ AU this I would do : 
And I would say, this done, ^^His sprites 

created, 
God ^[rants to each a sphere to be its world, 
Appomted with the various objects needed 
To satisfy its own peculiar want ; 
So, I create a world for these mv shapes 
Fit to sustain their beauty and dbeir strength I" 
And, at the word, I would contrive and paint 
Woods, valleys, rocks and plains, deUs, sands 

and wastes. 
Lakes which, when mom breaks on their quiv- 
ering bed. 
Blaze like a wy vem flying round the sun. 
And ocean isles so small, the doe^fish tracking 
A dead whale,^ who should fina them, would 

swim thrice 
Around them, and fare onward — all to hold 
The offspring of my brain. Nor these alone : 
Bronze labyrinth, palace, pynunid and crypt. 
Baths, galleries, courts, temples and terraces. 
Marts, theatres, and wharfs — all filled with 

men. 
Men eveiTwhere I And this performed in turn, 
When those who looked on, pined to hear the 

hopes 
And fears and hates and loves which moved the 

crowd, 
I would throw down the penci l as th e c^jsgl,^ 
And I would speak ; no thouglftV wHch ever 

stirred 
A human breast should be untold ; all passions. 
All soft emotions, from the turbulent stir 
Within a heart fed with desires like mine. 
To the last comfort shutting the tired lids 
Of him who sleeps the sultry noon away 
Beneath the tent-tree by the wayside well : 
And this in language as the need should be, 
Now poured at once forth in a burning flow, 
Now piled up in a grand array ojp words. 
This done, to ip^rfect imd consummate all. 
Even as a luminous haze links star to star, ^ /, 
I would supply all chasms with music, breathing ''- / 
Mysterious motions of the soul, no way 
To be defined save in strange melodies. 
Last, having thus revealed all I could love. 
Having received all love bestowed on it, 
I would die : preserving so throughout m|^ course 
Grod full on me, as I was full on men : 
He would approve my prayer, *^I have gone 

througn 
The loveliness of life ; create for me 
If not for men, or take me to thyself. 
Eternal, infinite love ! " 



r 



24 



PARACELSUS 



I 



i 



f 



If thon hast ne'er 
Ckinoeiyed this mighty aim, this full desire, 
Thon hast not passed my trial, and thon art 
No king of mine. 
Par, Ah me ! 

Apr, But thou art here ! 

Thon didst not gaze like me upon that end 
Till thine own powers for compassing the bliss 
Were blind with glory ; nor grow mad to grasp 
At onoe the prize long patient toil should daim, 
Nor spurn all granted short of that. ^ And I 
Would do as thou, a second time : nav, listen I 
Knowing onraelyes, onr worldL our task so great. 
Our time so brief, t is clear if we refuse 
The means so limited, the tools so rude 
To execute our purpose, life will fleet. 
And we shall fade, and leave our task undone. 
We will be wise in time : what though our work 
Be fashioned in despite of their ill-service. 
Be crippled every wa^ ? 'T were little praise 
Did fml resources wait on our goodwill 
At every turn. Let all be as it is. ^ 
Some say the earth is even so contrived 
That tree and flower, a vesture gay, conceal 
A bare and skeleton framework. Had we means 
Answering to our mind ! But now I seem * 

Wrecked on a savage isle : how rear thereon 
My palace ? Branching palms the props shtdl be. 
Fruit glossy mingling ; gems are for the East ; 
Who heeds them ? I can pass them. Serpents' 

scales. 
And painted birds' down, furs and fishes' skins 
Must help me ; and a little here and there 
Is all I can aspire to : still my art 
Shall show its birth was in a gentler clime. 
" Had I green jars of malachite, this way 
I 'd range them : where those sea-shells glisten 

above. 
Cressets should hang, by right : this wa^ we set 
Tlie purple carpets, as these mats are laid. 
Woven of fern and rush and blossoming flag." 
Or if, by fortune, some completer grace 
Be spared to me, some fragment, some slight 

sample 
Of the prouder workmanship my own home 

boastSj 
Some trifle htile heeded there, but here^ 
TTie place's one perfection — with what joy 
Would I enshrine the relic, cheerfully 
Foregoing all the marvels out of reacn I 
Gould I retain one strain of all the psalm 
Of the angels, one word of the fiat of God, 
To let my followers know what such things are ! 
I woidd adventure nobly for their sakes : 
When nights were still, and still the moaning sea. 
And far away I could descry the land 
Whence I departed, whither I return, 
I would dispart the waves, and stand once more 
At home, and load my bark, and hasten back. 
And fling my gains to them, worthless or true. 
"Friends," I would say, "I went far, far for 

them^ 
Past the high rocks the haunt of doves, the 

mounds 
Of red earth from whose sides strange trees 

grow out. 
Past tracts of milk-white minute blinding sand. 
Till, by a mighty moon, I tremUingly 



or 



Gathered these magic herbs, berry and bud, 
In haste, not pausing to reject the weeds. 
But happv plucking them at any price. 
To me, who have seen them bloom in their own 

soil. 
They are scarce lovely : plait and wear them, 

you I 
And guess, from what they are, the springs that 

fed them. 
The stars that sparkled o*er them, night by 

night. 
The snakes that travelled far to sip their dew ! " 
Thus for my higher loves ; and thus even weak- 
ness 
Would win me honor. But not these alone 
Should claim my care ; for common life, its wants 
And ways, would I set forth in beauteous hues: 
The lowest hind should not possess a hope, 
A fear, but I 'd be by him, saying better 
Than he lus own heart's langnage. I would live 
Forever in the thoughts I thus explored. 
As a discoverer's memory is attacned 
To all he finds ; they should be mine henceforth. 
Imbued with me, though free to all before : 
For clay, once cast into my soul's ridi mine, 
*lShdiild come up crusted o'er with gems, i^ 
this 
Would need a meaner spirit than the first; 
Nav, 't would be but the selfsame spirit, dotlied 
In humbler guise, but still the selfsame spirit: 
As one spring wind unbinds the mountain snow 
And coinforts violets in their hermitage. 

But, master, poet, who hast done all this. 
How didst thou 'scape the ruin whelming me ? 
Didst thou, when nerving thee to this attempvL 
Ne'er range thy mind's extent, as some wide 

hall. 
Dazzled by shapes that filled its length widi 

light, 
Shapes clustered there to rule thee, not obey, 
That will not wait thy summons, will not rise 
Singly, nor when thy practised eye and hand 
Can well transfer their loveliness, but crowd 
By thee forever, bright to thy despair ? 
Didst thou ne'er gaze on each by turns, and ne'er 
R^olve to single out one, though the rest 
Should vanish, and to give that one, entire 
In beauty, to the world ; forgetting, so. 
Its peers, whose number baffles mortal power? 
Ana, this determined, wast thou ne'er seduced 
By memories and regrets and passionate love, 
To glance once more farewell? and did their 

eyes 
Fasten thee, brighter and more bright, nntU 
Thou couldst but stagger back unto their feet, 
And laugh that man's applause or welfare ever 
Could tempt thee to f oxsake them ? Or when 
' years 

Had passed and still their love possessed thee 

wholly, ^ 
When from without some murmur startled the< 
Of darkling mortals famished for one ray 
Of thy so-hoarded luxury of light. 
Didst thou ne'er strive even yet to break tliofli 

spells 
And prove thou couldst recover and fulfil 
Thy early nussion, long ago renounced. 



PARACELSUS 



25 



And to that end, seleot some shape onee more ? 
And did not mistrlike inflnenoes. thiok films, 
lUnt memories of the rest that onarmed so long 
nnne eyes, float fast, confuse thee, bear thee 

off. 
As vhixfang: snow-drifts blind a man who treads 
A monntain ridge, with gniding spear, through 

storm? 
S^r, thoogh I fell, I had ezense to fall ; 
Ss^, I was tempted sorely : say but this, 
Dmt load, Apme*s lord I 

Far, Clasp me not thus, 

Anile ! That the tmih should reach me thus I 
We are weak dnst. Nay, clasp not or I faint I 
Apr, My king ! and envious thoughts could 

outrage thee? 
^ U I forget my ruin, and rejoice 
Is thy saeoeas, as thou I Let our God's praise 
Go faraveiy through the world at last I What 

esre 
Throogfa me or thee ? I feel thy breath. Why, 

tears? 
Tesnin the darkness, and from thee to me ? 
Far. Loye me henceforth, Aprile, while I 



To love ; and, merciful Gfod, forgive us both ! 
We wake at length from weary dreams ; but 

both 
Hsre alept in fury-land : though dark and drear 
Appeals the world before us, we no less 
Wake with our wrists and ankles jewelled still. 
I too have sooght to xifow as thou to love — 
Kwhidirjg love as thou refusedst knowledge. 
Still thou hast beauty and I, power. We wake : 
What penance canst devise for both of us ? 

Apr. I hear thee faintly. The thiok dark- 
seas I Even 
TUae eyes are hid. 'T is as I knew : I speak, 
And now I die. But I have seen thy face I 
poet, think of me, and sing of me I 
Bat to have seen thee and to die so soon I 

Far. I^ not, Aprile I We must never part. 
Are we not halves of one dissevered world. 
Whom this strange chance unites once more ? 

Fart? never! 
Tm thou the lover, know ; and I, the knower, 
Love — until both are saved. Aprile, hear I 
We win accept our gains, and use them — now I 
God, be will die upon my breast 1 Aprile I 

Apr. To speak but once, and die I yet by 
hisnde. 
Hash! hush! 

Ha ! go you ever girt about 
With shastoms, powers ? I have created such. 
Bat these seem real as I. 

JPor. Whom can you see 

uraqgh the accursed darkness ? 

Apr. Stay ; I know, 

Inowthem: who should know them well as I? 
Vlste brows, lit up with glory ; poets all 1 

Far. Let him out live, and I have my re- 



see now. 



QtoA is the 



iifl perso n acts his own crea tio n s. 

l^ this &i'hfst 1" Uusn ! hush I 
r. TAye^ I far my sake, because of my 
Sieatsin, 



To help my brain, oppressed by these wild words 
And tneir deep import. Live ! 't is not too 

late. 
I have a quiet home for us, and friends. 
Michal shall smile on you. Hear yon? Lean 

And breathe my breath. I shall not lose one 

word 
Of all your speech, one little word, Aprile ! 
Apr. No, no. Crown me ? I am not one of 
you ! 
'T is he, the kin^, you seek. I am not one. 
Par. Thy spirit, at least, Aprile ! Let me 
love. 

I have attained, and now I may depart. 



III. PARACELSUS 

Scsn, Batd : a chamber in the house 0/ Tkukcmam. 

1526. 

FABAoaiaus, FksTus. 

Par. Hetap logs and let the blaze laugh out ! 

Fest. True, true ! 

'T is very fit all, time and chance and change 
Have wrought since last we sat thus, face to 

face 
And soul to soul — all cares, far-looking fears. 
Vague apprehensions, all vain fancies bred 
By your 101^ absence, should be cast away. 
Forgotten in this glad unhoped renewtd 
Of our affections. 

Par. Oh, omit not aught 

Which witnesses your own and Michal's own 
Affection : spare not that ! Only forget 
The honors and the glories and what not. 
It pleases you to tell profusely out. 

Feat, Nay, even your honors, in a sense, I 
waive : 
The wondrous Paracelsus, life's dispenser. 
Fate's commiBsary, idol of the schools 
And courts, shall be no more thim Aureole still. 
Still Aureole and my friend as when we parted 
Some twenty years ago, and I restrained^ 
As best I could ihe promptings of my spirit 
Which secretly advanced yon, from the first. 
To the pre-emment rank wluch, since, your own 
Adventurous tador nobly triumphing. 
Has won for you. 

Par. Tes, yes. And Michal's face 

Still wears that quiet and peculiar light 
Like the dim circlet floating round a pearl ? 

Fest. Just so. 

Par. And yet her calm sweet countenance. 
Though saintly, was not sad ; for she would sing 
Alone. Does she still sing alone, bird-like, 
Not dreaming yon are near ? Her caro]0 dropt 
Li flakes through that old leafy bower built 

under 
The sunny wall at Wiirzbuiv, from her lattice 
Among the trees above, while I, unseen. 
Sat conmiig some rare scroll from Tritheim's 

shelves, 
Much wondering notes so^simple could divert 
My mind from study. " 

Respect all such as sing when all alone 

T 



26 



PARACELSUS 



Fest, Scarcely alone : her children, yon may 




Are wud beside her. 

Far, ^ Ahj those children qnite 

Unsettle the pure picture in my mind : 
A girl, she was so perfect, so distinct : 
No change, no change ! Not but this added 

May blend and harmonize with its compeers. 
And Michal may become her motherhood ; 
But ^t is a change, and I detest all change. 
And most a change in au^ht I loved long since. 
So, Michal — you have said she thinks of me ? 
Fest, O very proud will Michal be of you I 
Imagine how we sat, long winter^nights. 
Scheming and wondering, shaping your pre- 
sumed 
Adventure, or devising its reward ; 
Shutting out fear with all the strength of hope. 
For it was strange how, even when most secure 
In our domestic peace, a certain dim 
And flitting shade could sadden all ; it seemed 
A restlessness of heart, a silent yearning, 
A sense of something wanting, incomplete — 
Not to be put in words, perhaps avoiaed 
By mute consent — but, said or unsaid, felt 
To point to one so loved fuid so long lost. 
Ana then the hopes rose and shut out the fears — 
How you woula laugh should I recount them 

now I 
I still predicted your return at last 
With gifts beyond the greatest of them all. 
All Tritheim's wondrous troop : did one of which 
Attain renown bv any chance, I smiled. 
As well awue of who would prove his peer. 
Michal was sure some woman, long ere this. 
As beautiful as ^ou were sage, had loved . . . 
Par, Far-seeingj truly, to discern so much 
In the fantastic projects and day-dreams 
Of a raw restless boy I 

Fest. Oh, no : the sunrise 

Well warranted our faith in this f uU noon ! 
Can I forffet the smxious voice which said, 
/^ *i£estu8, nave thoughts like these e*er shaped 
Ijf^ themselves 

^ ^n other brains than mine ? have their possessors 
Existed in like circumstance ? were they weak 
As I, or ever constant fi'om the first, ^ 
Despising youth's allnrements and rejecting 
As spider^mms the shackles 1 endure ? 
Is there hope for me ?" — and I answered gpravely 
As an acknowledged elder, calmer, wiser, 
More eifted mortal. O you must remember. 
For au your glorious ... 

Par, Glorious ? ay, this hair. 

These hands — nay, touch them, they are mine I 

Recall 
With all the said recallings, times when thus 
To lay them by your own ne'er turned you pale 
As now. Most glorious, are they not ? 

Fest, Why — why — 

Something must be subtracted from success 
So wide, no doubt. He would be scrupulous, 

trulv. 
Who should object such drawbacks. Still, still. 

Aureole, 
Ton are chan^d, very changed I 'T were los- 
ii^ nothing 



V 






r 



To look well to it : you must not be stolen 
From the enjo^ent of your well-won meed. 
Par, My friend I you seek my pleasure, past v 

a doubt : /^ 

Tou will best gain your point, by talking, not y ^ 
Of me, but of yourself. if ^ 

Fest. Have I not said 

All touchiiw: Michal and my children ? Sujfi^ 
You know, bv this, full well how AejmfibfiiL^oks 
Gravely, while one disparts her thick brown hair: 
And Aureole's glee when some stray gannet 

builds 
Amid the birch-trees by the lake. Small hope 
Have I that he will honor (the wild imp) 
His namesake. Sigh not ! 't is too much to ask 
That all we love should reach the same proud 

fate. 
But vou are very kind to humor me 
By showing interest in my quiet life ; 
You, who of old could never tame yourself 
To tranquil pleasures, must at heart despise . 
Par, Festus, strange secrets are let out b^ 

death ^#*£io»,ti. um. (\o<AL-<+v^j^>^irf' 

Who blabs so oft the follies of this world : 

And I am death's familiar, as you know. 

I helped a man to die, some few weeks since. 

Warped even from his go-cart to one end — 

The living on princes' smiles, reflected from 

A mighty herd of favorites. No mean trick 

He left untried, and truly well-ni^h worm^ ^ V^' 

All traces of God's finger out of him : \ 

Then died, grown old. And just an hour before. 

Having lam long with blank and soulless eyes. 

He sat up suddenly, and with natural voice 

Said that in spite of thick air and closed doors 

God told him it was June ; and he knew well. 

Without such telling, harebeUs grew in June ; 

And all that kings could ever give or take 

Would not be precious as those blooms to him. 

Just so, allowing I am passing sage. 

It seems to me much worthier argument 

Why pansies,^ eyes that laugh, bear beauty's 

prize 
From violets, eyes that dream — (your Michal^s 

choice) — 
Than all fools find to wonder at in me 
Or in my fortunes. And be very sure 
I say this from no prurient restlessness. 
No self-complacency, itching to turn, 
Vaiy and view its pleasure from all points. 
And, in iJiis instance, willing other men 
May be at puns, demonstrate to itself 
The realness of the very joy it tastes. 
What should delight me like the news of friends 
Whose memories were a solace to me oft, ^ 
As mountain-baths to wild fowls in their flight ? 
Ofter than you had wasted thought on me 
Had you been wise, and rightly valued bliss. 
But tnere 's no taming nor repressing hearts : 
Qod knows I need such! — So, you heard me 
speak? 

Fest, Speak? when? 

Par, y^Yxen but this morning at my class ? 
There was tto^ ^^ crowd enough. I saw yon 

Hot 
Surely y^^' v *iO^ ^ "^ eiigaged to fill 



«««. 



J 



L 



PARACELSUS 



27 



Thid chair here ? — that 't is part of my proud 

fate 
To leetme to as many thick-skulled youths 
Aa please, each day, to throng the theatre, 
To my great reputation, and no small 
Danger of Basel's benches long unused 
To eraek beneath such honor ? ^ 

Fed. I was there ; 

I nui^iled with the throng : shall I avow 
&iiall care was mine to listen ? — too intent 
Oa gatherii^ from the murmurs of the crowd 
A rail corroboration of my hop^ ! 
What can I learn about your powers ? but they 
Know, care for naught bevond your actual state, 
Your actual value ; yet they worship you, 
Thoee various natures whom you sway as one ! 
But ere I go, be sure 1 shall attend . . . 

Par. Stop, o' Grod's name : the thing 's by no 
means Yet 
IW remedy f Shall I read this morning's labor 
— At least m substance ? Naught so worth the 

gaining 
As an apt scholar ! Thus then, with all due 
Btecssion and emphasis — you , beside, are clearly 
Oiditlesa of understanding more, a whit, 
Tie sabieet than your stool — allowed to be 
A Dotame advantage. 

Fett. Sur ely, Aur eole, 

Too laugh at me I 

Par. I laugh ? Ha, ha ! thiink heaven, 

1 dhaige you, if 't be so I for I forget 
Mack, and wnat laughter should be like. No 

leas, 
Hofwever, I forego that luxury 
Snee it alarms tne friend who brings it back. - 
IVne. laiqHiter like my own must echo strangely 
To thinking men ; a smile were better far ; 
So, make me smile ! If the exulting look 
Tod wore but now be smiling, 't is so long 
Saee 1 have smiled! Alas, such smiks are 

bom 
Alone of hearts like yours, or herdsmen's souls 
Off aneient time, whose eyes^ calm as their flocks. 
Saw in the stars mere gamishry of heaven. 
And in tibe earth a stage for altars only. 
Kever ehange, Festus : I say, never change I 



Fetf . Mj God, if he be wretched after a>^] , , 

_ouae-^ 
elared, 



Par. Wiien last we parted, Festus, you 



— Or Itfiffhal, yes, her soft lips whispered words 
I have pceaerved. She told me she believed 
I diould aooeeed ( meaning, that in the search 
I then engaged in, I should meet success ) 
AhI yet be wretched : now, she ang^ured false. 
, fat. Tlumk heaven I but you spoke strangely : 
' could I Tentnre 

iSatfaiiik bare M^prehension lest your friend, 
' d bv vour resplendent course, misrht find 
Ffwtn less sweetness in his own, could move 
earnest mood in you? Fear not, dear 
friend, 

I ahall leave you, inwardly repining 
' lot was not nay own I 

And this forever I 
! gull who may, they will be galled I 
win not look nor think ; 't is nothing new 
^— Bn : but snrelT he is not of them ! 
^Seataa, do yoa know, I reckoned, you — 



Though all beside were sand-blind — you, my 

friend, 
Would look at me, once close, with piercing eye 
Untroubled b^ the false glare that confounds 
A weaker vision : would remain serene. 
Though singular amid a gaping throng. 
I feared you, or I had come, sure, long ere this. 
To Einsiedeln. Well, error has no 01^7 — 
And Khasis is a sage, and Basel boasts 
A tribe of wits, and I am wise and blest 
Past all dispute ! 'T is vain to fret at it. 
I have vowed long ago my worshippers 
Shall owe to their own deep sagacity 
All further information, good or bad. 
Small risk indeed my reputation runs. 
Unless perchance the glance now searching me 
Be fixed much longer ; for it seems to spell 
Dimly the characters a simpler man 
Might read distinct enough. Old eastern books 
Say, the faUen prince^of morning some short 

space »— f^>xoJ.<A.) 

Remained unchanged in sembluice; nay, his 

brow 
Was hued with triumph : every spirit then 
Praising, his heart on name the while : — a tale ! 
Well, Festus, what discover you, I pray ? 
Fest. Some foul deed sullies then a me which 

else 
Were raised supreme ? 

Par. Good : I do well, most well ! 

Why strive to make iilou lrear>,'feel; fret ISienx^ 

selves 
With what is past their power to comprehend ? 
I should not strive now : only, having nursed 
The faint surmise that one yet walked the earth. 
One, at least, not the utter fool of show. 
Not absolutely formed to be the dui)e 
Of shallow plausibilities alone : 
One who, in youth, found wise enough to choose 
The happiness his rijper years approve. 
Was yet so anxious tor another's sake, 
That, ete his friend could rush upon a mad 
And ruinous course, the converse of his own, 
His gentle spirit essayed, prejudged for him 
The perilous path, foresaw its destiny. 
And warned tne weak one in such tender words. 
Such accents — his whole heart in every tone — 
That oft their memorv comforted that friend 
When it by right shonld have increased despair : 
— Having beueved, I say, that this one man 
Could never lose the light thus from the first 
His portion — how should I refuse to grieve 
At even my gain if it disturb our old 
Relation, if it make me out more wise ? 
Therefore, once more reminding him how well 
He prophesied, I note the single flaw 
That spoils his prophet's title. In plain words. 
You were deceived, and thus were you de- 
ceived — 
I have not,1^e2LflUfiQeaaCaLjaiid yet am 
Mofifnuserable ; 'tis said at last ; nor vou 
Give credit, lest you force me to concede 
That common sense yet lives upon the world ! 
Fest. Ton surely do not mean to banter me ? 
Par. You know, or — if you have been wise 

enough 
To cleanse your memory of such matters — 

knew, 



28 



PARACELSUS 



s^': \ 



\ 



\ 



As far as words of mine oould make it clear, 
That *t was my purpose to find joy or grief 
Solely in the fulfilment of my plan 
Or plot or whatsoever it was ; rejoicing 
Alone as it proceeded prosperously, 
Sorrowing tnen only wnen mischance retarded 
Its progress. That was in those Wiirzburg days ! 
Not to prolone a theme I thoroughly hate, 



Rv 



Par, This worthy Festus 

Is one of them, at last ! 'T is so with all I 
First, they set down all progress as a dream ; 
And next, when he whose auick discomfiture 
Was counted on, acoompliwes some few 
And doubtful steps in his career, — behold. 
They look for every inch of ground to yanish 
Beneath his tread, so sure t^r spy success ! 






I haye pursued this plan with alTmy strength ; T Fest. Few doubtful steps ? when death re* 



And haying failed therein most signaUy, 
Cfiumot object to ruin utter and drear 
As all-excelling would haye been the prize 
Had fortune fayored me. I scarce have right 
To yex your frank good spirit late so glad 
In my supposed prosperity, 1 know, 
And, were I lucky in a glut of friends, 
Would well agree to let your error liye. 
Nay, strengthen it with fables of success. 
But mine is no condition to refuse 
The transient solace of so rare a godsend, 
Hy solitary luxury, my one friend : 
Accordingly I yenture to put ofiF 
The wearisome yest of falsehood galling me. 
Secure when he is by. I lay me bare. 
Prone at his mercy — but he is my friend ! 
Not that he needs retain lus aspect giuye ; 
That answers not my purpose : for h \a like, 
Some sunny morning — Basel being drained 
Of its wise poi>ulation, eyery corner^ 
Of the amphitheatre ci^mmed with learned 

clerks,T/ ?♦ ^' » '^ V 
Here CEoolanipadius, looking worlds of wit, 
; •', ^\ « Here Castellanus, as profo und as he ^ U--» '^; ^ *4i< 
^•^ ^Jtf unstems here, Frobeniiur Ihi^n, all sq^^zed 
! ^'^ And staring, — that the zany of the show, 
£yen Paracelsus, shall put off before them 
His trappings with a grace but seldom judged 
Expedient in such cases : — the grim smile 
That will go round I Is it not therefore best 
To yenture a rehearsal like the present 
In a small way ? Where are the sicfiis I seek. 
The first-fruits and fair suuple of the scorn 
Due to all quacks ? Why, tms will neyer do ! 

Fest. These are foul yapors. Aureole ; naught 
beside I 
The effect of watching, stud^^i weariness. 
Were there a spark of truth in the confusion 
Of these wild words, ^ou would not outrage thus 
Tour youth ^8 companion. I shall ne^er regard 
These wanderings, bred of f aintness and much 

study. 
'T is not thus 3ron would trust a trouble to me, 
To Michal^s friend. 

Par, I haye said it, dearest Festus ! 

For the manner, ^t is ungracious probably ; 
Ton may have it told in broken sobs, one day. 
And scalding tears, ere long : but I thought best 
To keep that off as long as possible. 
Doyou wonder still ? 

rest. No ; it must oft fall out 

That one whose labor perfects any work. 
Shall rise from it with eye so worn that he 
Of all men least can measure the extent 
Of what he has accomplished. He alone 
Who, nothing tasked, is nothing weary too. 
May clearly scan the little he effects : 
But we, the bystanders, untouched by toil, 
Estimate each aright. 



I tires before 

Tour presence — when the noblest of mankind, 
Broken in body or subdued in soul, 
May through your skill renew their vigor, raise 
The shattered frame to pristine statelinees ? 
When men in racking pam may purchase dreams 
Of what del^hts them most, swooning at once 
Into a sea of bliss or rapt along 
As in a flying sphere ot turbulent light? 
When we may look to you as one ordained 
To free the flesh from fell disease, as frees 
Our Luther's burning tongue the fettered sonl? 
When . . . 

Par, When and where, the devil, did yon get 
This notable news ? 

Fest, Even from the common voice ; 

From those whose envy, daring not dispute 
The wonders it decries, attributes them 
To magic and such folly. 

Par, Folly? Why not 

To magic, pray ? Ton find a comfort doubtless 
In holding. God ne'er troubles him about 
Us or our doings : once we were judged worth 
The devil's tempting . . . I offend :torgiy erne, 
And rest content. Your prophecy on the whole 
Was fair enough as prophesyings go ; 
At fault a little in detad, but quite 
Precise enough in the main ; and hereupon 
Ipay due homage : you jpruessed lonr ago 
(The prophet I) Ishonld rail — and I nave fiuled. 

Fest, Tou mean to tell me, then, the hopes 
which fed 
Tour youth have not been realized as yet ? 
Some obstacle has barred them hitherto ? 
Or that their innate . . . 

Par, As I said but now, 

Tou have a very decent prophet's fame, 
So you but shun details here. Little matter 
Whether those hopes were mad, — the aims 

they sought. 
Safe and secure from all ambitions fools ; 
Or whether my weak wits are overcome 
By what a better spirit would scorn : 1 f aiL 
And now methiuKs 'twere best to change A 

theme 
I am a sad fool to have stumbled on. 
I say confusedly what comes uppermost ; 
But there are times when patience proves at 

fault. 
As now : this morning's strange encounter — 
Beside me once again I jyon, whom I guessed 
Alive, since hitherto (with Luther's leave) 
No friend have I among the sunts at peace, 
To judge ^y any good their prayers effect. 
I knew vo^ vrouldnave helpcyd me — why not he 
My nt^ \fe competitor in enterprise. 



on 




PARACELSUS 



29 



How soes it with Aprile ? Ah. they naaa 

roar lone sad sminy idleness oz heaven, 

Our u M tftji r a for ihe world's sake ; heaven shuts 

fsst: 
The poor mad poet is howling by this time I 
SioM JOB are my sole friend then, here or there, 
I ooda not quite repress the varied feelings 
Tbk meeting wakens; they have had their vent. 
And sow foreet them. Do the rear-mioe still 
Hh; like a firetwork on the gate (or what 
In my time was a gate) fronting the road 
From Sttsiedeln to Lachen? 

Fest. Trifle not: 

Ansver me, for my sake alone I Ton smiled 
Jvt DOW, when I supposed some deed, unworthy 
TocDseif , might blot the else so bright result ; 
Tet if your motives have continued pure. 
Your v31 nn&dtering, and in spite 01 this, 
Yoa have experienoea a defeat, why then 
I ny not you would cheerfully withdraw 
From contest — mortal hearts are not so fash- 



yon would nevertheless withdraw. 

txenlove, 

knnurladBSi I I repeat 

Yo ur v e r y words : onoe satisfiea that knowledge 
b a mere dreancL, you would announce as mucn^p, 
Tosmlf the first. But how is the event2y\Jt^^^ ^ 
Yon are defeated — and I find you here I JfiA^'^^^^ 
For. As thousli " here " did not sigm^ de- 
feat! 

I iinke not of my little labors here. 

Bet rf \". , - 

yoo, aware of Uieiv extent and scope, 
To look on these sage lecturings, approved 
By heardless boys, and bearded dotards worse, 
As a fit eonsommation of such aims, 
li worthy notice. A prof easonhip 
AtBaaefl Sinoe you see so much in it, 
AaA think my life was reasonably drained 
Of life's de^gnts to render me a match 
For duties arduous as such post demands, — 
Be it far from me to deny my power 
To fiD the petty drde lotted out 
Of iafinite space, or justify the host 
Of boms thence accruing. So, take notice, 
Tlia iswel da'y^^^g from my neck preserves 
Tkb xeatmes of a prince, m^ skill restored 
To plaroe his people some few years to come : 
Ana au thrcmgh a pure whim. He had eased 

tfaeearth 
Jornie, bat that the droll despair which seized 
Ihe vennin of his household, tickled me. 

to see. Ebre drivelled the physician, 
most iTrfft^lliKb* nostrum was at fault ; 
quaked the astrologer, whose horoscope 
proniBed him interminable years : 
a monk fumbled at the sick nuu^s mouth 
some undoubted relic — a sudary 
B Viigin ; while another piebald knave 
fte same brotherhood (he loved them ever) 
actively ]>repariiig *neath his nose 
a saffumigation as, onoe fired, 
atunk the patient dead ere he could groan. 
~ the doctor and upset the brother, 
past the conjurer, vowed that the first 



from the ingredients just alight 



Would raise a cross-grained devil in mj[ sword. 
Not easily laid : ana ere an hour the prince 
Slept as he never slept since prince he was. 
A day — and I was posting for my life, 
Plaoiurded through the town as one whose spite 
Had near availed to stop the blessed effects 
Of the doctor*8 nostrum whidi, well seconded 
By the sudary, and most by the costly smoke -^ 
Not leaving out the strenuous prayers sent up 
Hard by in the abbey^ — raised the prince to life : 
To the great reputetion of the seer 
Who, confident, expected all along 
The glad event — the doctor^s recompense — 
Much largess from his highness to the monks — 
And the vast solace of his loving people. 
Whose general satisfaction to increase, 
The prince was pleased no longer to defer 
The Duming of some dozen heretics 
Remanded till Gk>d'8 mercy should be shown 
Touching his sickness : last of all were joined 
Ample directions to all loyal folk 
To swell the complement bv seizing me 
Who — doubtless some rank sorcerer — endeav- 
ored 
To thwart these pious offices, obstruct 
The prince's cure, and frustrate heaven by help 
Of certun devils dwelling in his sword. 
By luck, the prince in his first fit of thanks 
Had forced this bauble on me as an earnest 
Of further favors. This one case may serve 
To give sufficient taste of many such, 
So, let them pass. Those shelvM support a pile 
Of patents, hcenses, diplomas, titles 
From Germany, France, Spain, and Italy ; 
They authorize some honor ; nevertheless, 
I set more store by this Erasmus sent ; 
He trusts me ; our Frobenius is his friend. 
And him ** I raised " (nay, read it) " from the 

dead." 
I weary you, I see. I merely sought 
To show, there 's no great wonder after all 
That, while I fill the class-room and attract 
A crowd to Basel, I get leave to stey, 
And therefore need not scruple to accept 
The utmost they can offer, if I please : 
For 't is but rieht the world should be prepared 
To treat with favor e'en fantastic wants 
Of one like me, used up in serving her. 
Just as the mortal, whom the gods in part 
Devoured, received in place 01 his lost limb 
Some virtue or other — cured disease, I think ; 
Ton mind the fables we have read together. 

Fest. You do not think I comprehend a word. 
The time was. Aureole, you were a^t enough 
To clothe the airiest thoughto in specious 

breath; 
But surely you must feel how vague and strange 
These speeches sound. 

Par, Well, then : you know my hopes ; 

I am assured, at length, those hopes were vain ; 
That truth is iust as far from me as ever ; 
That I have tnrown my life awav ; that sorrow 
On that account is idle, and further effort 
To mend and patoh what 's marred beyond re- 
pairing, 
As useless : and all this was tenp^ht your friend 
By the convincing good old-fashioned method 
Of force — by sheer compulsion. Is that plain ? 



t^ 



3 

-/ 



30 



^ PARACELSUS 



my f eara were 



» 



ost admire — 
p keep np 



Ytfi, Dear Anreole, can it 
just? 
God wills not . . . 

Tar, Now, 'tis this I 

The constant talk men of yonr 
Gl Qod^s will, as they style it ; on4 wonld swear 

had bnt merely to aplift his ^ye 
And see the will in question char 
On the heaven's Tault. 'T is hardljj wise to moot 
Such topics : doubts are many and faith is weak. 

T^yv afl mnrb ^^ °"r 

AffKnows S9me jjiT"V nr*^ tiirtur^ brute what 



His stem lord, wifls from the perplexine blows 
That plague him every way; but tnere, of 

course, * 

Where least ne suffers, longest he remains — 
My case ; and for such reasons I plod on. 
Subdued bnt not convinced. I know as little 
Why I deserve to fail, as why I hoped 
Better things in my youth. I simply know 
I am no nuuter here, but trained and beaten 
Into the path I tread ;^ and^ here I stay, 
Until some further intimation reach me, 
£iike an obedient drudge. Though I prefer 
To view the whole thing as a task imposed 
Which, whether dull or pleasant, must oe done — 
Yet, I deujT not, there is made provision 
Of joys wmch tastes less jaded might affect ; 
Nay, some which please me too, for all my 

pride — 
Pleasures that once were pains : the iron ring 
Festering about a slave's neck grows at length 
Into the flesh it eats. I hate no longer 
A host of petty vile delights, undreamed of 
Or spumed before ; such now supply the place 
Of my dead aims : as in the autumn woods 
Where tall trees used to flourish, from their 

roots 
Springs up a fungous brood sickly and pale, 
Gnill mushrooms colored like a corpse's cheek. 
Yejst, If I interpret well your words, I own 
It troubles me but little that your aims. 
Vast in their dawning and most likely grown 
Extravagantly since, nave baffled you. 
Perchance I am glad ; you merit greater praise ; 
Because they are too glorious to be gnuned, 
You do not blindly dmg to them and die ; 
You fell, but have not sullenly refused 
To rise, because an angel worsted you 
In wrestling, though the world holds not your 

peer; 
And though too haish and sudden is the change 
To yield content as yet, still you pursue 
The ungracious path as though 't were rosy- 
strewn. 
'Tis well : and your reward, or soon or late. 
Will rnmn fmm him Trhmn no iimiii imiiiiiii in 



vain. 



"Par, Ah, very fine ! For my part^ I conceive 
The very pausing from all furtner tod. 
Which you find heinous, would become a seal 
To the sincerity of all my deeds. 
To be consistent I shoula die at once ; 
I calculated on no after-life ; 
Yet (how crept in, how fostered, I know not) 
Here am I with as passionate regret 
For youth and healtn and love so vainly lavished. 



As if their preservation had been first ^ 

And foremost in my thoughts ; and this strange 

fact 
Humbled me wondrously, and had due fone 
In rendering me the less averse to follow 
A certain counsel, a mjrsterious warning — 
You will not understand — but 't was a man 
With aims not mine and yet pursued like mine, 
With the same fervor and no more success. 
Perishing in my sight ; who summoned me. 
As I would shun the ghastly fate I saw, 
To serve my race at once ; to wait no longer 
That Qod should interfere in my behalf. 
But to distrust myself, put pride away. 
And give my gains, imperfect as they weire. 
To men. I nave not leisure to explam 
How, nnce, a singular series of events 
Has raised me to the station yon behold. 
Wherein I seem'to turn to most account 
The mere wreck of the past, — perhaps reoeive 
Some feeble glimmering token that Grod views 
And may approve my penance : therefore here 
You find me, doing most good or least haim. 
And if folks wonder much and profit little 
'T is not my fault ; only, I shall reioioe 
When my part in the wee is shuffled through. 
And the curtain falls : I must hold out till then. 

Ftgt, Till when, dear Aureole ? 

Par, Till I 'm fairly thrnafc 

From my proud eminence. Fortune is fickle 
And even professors fall : should that arrive, 
I see no sin in ceding to my bent. 
You little fancy what rude shocks Mprise us 




Like that to be forsaken. I would fain 
Be spared a further sample. Here I stand. 
And nere I stay, be sure, till forced to flit. 
Test. Be you bnt firm on that head! long 

ere then 
All I expect will come to pass, I trust : 
The cloud that wraps you will have disappearedL 
Meantime, I see sxnall chance of such event : 
They praise you here as one whose lore, already 
Divulfi:ed, eclipses all the past can show. 
But wnoee achievements, marvellous as they "be, 
Are faint anticipations of a glory 
About to be revealed. When Basel's crowds 
IKsmiss their teacher, I shall be content 
That he depart. 

Par, This favor at their hands 

I look for earHer than your view of things 
Would warrant. Of the crowd you saw to-day 
Remove the full half sheer amazement draimB 
Mere novelty, naught else ; and next, the txil» 
Whose innate blockish dulness just perceives 
That unless miracles (as seem my works) 
Be wrought in their behalf, their chance i 

slight 
To puzzle the devil ; next, the numerous set 
Who bitterly hate established schools, and hie] 
The teacher that oppugns them, till he onoe 
Have planted his own doctrine, when tl] 

teacher 
May reckon on their rancor in his turn ; 
TaKC, too, the sprinkling of sagacioua knsTeB 
Whose cunning runs not counter to the vog^a 



PARACELSUS 



3> 



But seeks, by flattery and crafty nmsiiigf 
To force my system to a premature 
Shart-nVed development. Wliy swell the list ? 
Eaeh has his end to serve, and his best way 
Of senring it : remove all these, remains 
A scantling; a poor dozen at the beet, 
Worthy to look for synroathy and servioe. 
And likely to draw pront from my pains. 
Fai, *Tis no enoonra^fing picture: still 
these few 
Redeem their fellows. Once the germ im- 
planted. 
Its erowth, if slow, is sure. 

Par, God ^^ant it so I 

I voold make some amends : but if I fail. 
Hie luckless rogues have this excuse to urge, 
That much is in my method and my manner, 
^ anoonth habits, my imi>atient spirit, 
Wmdi hinders of reception and result 
J^doetrine: much to say, small skill to speak ! 
Taese old aims suffered not a lookine^ff 
Tboagh for an instant ; therefore, omy when 
I thus renounce them and resolved to reap 
Some present fruit — to teach mankind some 
truth 



So dearly purchased — ^pJSf .the^^llPJUld 




1 ^ to poaseas was one *^ ^^J[^ — *? dirr^T 

Or popular praise, I had soon discovered it : 
Ooe grows out little apt to learn these things. 

FesL If it be so^ wnich nowise I believe, 
Tlioe needs no waiting: fuller dispensation 
To leave a labor of so uttle use. 
Wlnr not throw up the irksome chaige at once ? 

Par. A task, a task \ 

But wherefore hide the whole 
Eitent of degradation once en^ged 
hi the eonf easing vein ? Despite of all 
My fine talk of obedience and repugnance, 
Dodlity and what not, 'tis yet to learn 
If when the task shall really be performed, 
My indinataon free to choose once more, 
I sliall do aught but slightly modify 
Tile oatore of the hated task I quit, 
la plain words. I am spoiled ; my life still tends 
As first it tended ; I am broken and larained 
To lay old habits : they are part of me. 
I kmnr, and none so well, my darling ends 
Are proved impossible : no less, no less. 
Even now what hiimoi»me, fond fool, as when 
Thdr faint ghosts sit with me and flatter me 
And seod me back content to my duU round ? 
HI J, c l?pnge this soul ? — this apparatus 
letedsol^ly ^^f tlUSlF purposes, 
8s wdl adapted to their every want, 
til search oat and discover, prove and perfect ; 
His intricate machine whose most minute 
Aad meanest motions have their charm to me 
Though to none else — an aptitude I seize, 
J As object I perceive, a use, a meaning, 
''kproperty, a fitness, I explain 

M I alone : — how can I change my soul ? 
~ this wron^ied body, worthless save when 



tbr that sool's dominion — used to care 
its br^t master's cares and quite subdue 



Its proper cravings — not to ail nor pine 
So he but prosper — whither drag this poor 
Tried patient body ? God ! ho w I essay ed 
To Uve like t hat i^sAJoSCgar ft Wlllltt. 
To love alone ; and now 1 felt too waiped 
And twisted and deformed I What should I do. 
Even though released from dnu^ry, but re- 
turn 
Faint, as you see, and halting, blind and sore. 
To my old life and die as I b^fau ? 
I cannot feed on bej^utv for U^ sake 
Ut beauty only , nor can drink in balm 
From lovely oDJects for their loveliness ; 
My nature cannot lose her first imi 
I still musi noara and h6&]^ &hd class aD truths 
With one ulterior purpose : Imustjy 
Would Qod translate me to his throne, believe 
That 1 should only listen to his word 
To further my own aim ! For other men. 
Beauty is prodigally strewn around. 
And I were happy could I quench as they 
This mad and thriveless longing, and content 

me 
With beauty for itself alone : alas, 
I have addressed a frock of heavy mail 
Tet may not join the troop of sacred knights ; 
And now the f orestrcreatures fly from me. 
The grass-banks cool, the sunbeams warm no 

more. 
Best follow, dreaming that ere night arrive, 
I shall overtake the company and ride 
Glittering as they ! 

Fest, I think I apprehend 

What you would say : if you, in truth, design 
To enter once more on the life thus left. 
Seek not to hide that all this consciousness 
Of failure is assumed ! 

Par, My friend, my friend, 

I toil, you listen ; I es^lain, perhaps ' 
Tou understand : there our communion ends. 
Have you learnt nothing from to-day's di^ 

course? 
When we would thoroughly know the sick 

man's state 
We feel awhile the fluttering pulse^ press soft 
The hot brow, look upon the languid eye. 
And thence divine the rest. Must 1 lay bare 
My heart, hideous and beating, or tear up 
My vitals for your gaze, ere you will deem 
Enough made known? Ton! who are you, 

forsooth ? 
That is the crowning operation claimed 
By the arch-demonstrator — heaven the hall. 
And earth the audience. ^ Let Aprile and you 
Secure good places : 't will be worth the while. 
Fest, Are jou mad, Aureole ? What can I 
have said 
To call for this? I judged from your own 
words. 
Par, Oh, doubtiessi A sick wretch de- 
scribes the ape 
That mocks him from the bed-foot, and all 

gravely 
You thither turn at once : or he recounts 
The perilous journey he has late pei^ormed. 
And you are puzzled much how tnat could be ! 
Tou find me here, half stupid and half mad ; 
It makes no part of my deught to search 



32 



PARACELSUS 



Into these matteis, mnch len undergo 

Another's soratiny ; but so it chances 

Hiat I am led to trust my state to yon : 

And the event is, you combine, contrast 

And ponder on miy foolish words as though ^ 

They thoroughly conyeyed all hidden here — 

Here, loathsome with despair and hate and 

rage! 
Is there no fear, no shrinking and no shame ? 
Will you guess nothing ? will you spare me no- 
thing? 
Must I go deei)er ? Ay or no ? 
Fest. Dear friend . . . 

Par. True : I am brutal — 'tis a i>art of it ; 
The plague's sign — you are not a la^uvhaunter, 
How should you know ? Well then, you think 

it strange 
I should profess to haye failed utterly, 
And yet propose an ultimate return 
To courses yoid of hope : and this, because 
You know not what temptation is, nor how 
'T is like to ply men in the sickliest i>art. 
Ton are to understand that we who make 
Snort for the gods, are hunted to the end : 
Tnere is not one siuup yolley shot at us. 
Which 'scaped with life, though hurt, we 

slacken pace 
And gather by the wavside herbs and roots 
To stanch our wounds, secure from further 

harm: 
We are assailed to life's eztremest yerge. 
It will be well indeed if I return, 
A harmless busy fool, to my old ways I 
I wonld^^nget hints of another f ate_^ 
SigmHcant enough, which silent hoiirs 
Have lately scared me with. 
Fest, Another ! and what ? 

Par. After aU, Festus, you say well : I am 
A man vet : I need never humble me. 
I would have been — something, I know not 

what; 
But though I cannot soar, I dp not crawl. 
There are worse portions tEasHMBTOne of mine. 
Ton say well I 
Fest. Ahl 

Par, ■— — *T--And deeper degradation I 

U the mean stimulants of vul^ praue. 
If vanity should become the chosen food 
Of a suiik mind, should stifle even the wish 
To find its early aspirations true, 
Should teach it to breathe falsehood like life- 
breath — 
An atmosphere of craft and trick and lies ; 
Should make it proud to emulate, surpass 
Base natures in the practices which woke 
Its most indignant loathing once . . . No, no I 
Utter damnation is reserved for hell I 
I had immortal f eelingB ; such shall never 
Be wholly quenched : no, no I 

My friend, you wear 
A melancholy face, and certain 't is 
There 's little cheer in all this dismal work. 
But was it my desire to set abroach 
Such memories and forebodin|ZB ? I forteaw 
Where they would drive. 'T were better we 

discuss 
News from Lucerne or Zurich ; ask and tell 
Of Egypt's flaring sky or Spain's cork-groves. 



Fest. ^ I have thought : trust me, this mood 

will pass away ! 
^1 know you and the loftv spirit you bear. 
And easily ravel out a clue to alL 
IThese are the trials meet for such as yon, 
iNor must you hone exemption : to be mortal 
Is to be pked wim trials manifold. 
Look round ! The obstacles which kept the rest 
From your ambition, have been spumed by you ; 
Their fears, their doubts, the chains that bina 

them all. 
Were flax before your resolute soul, which 

naught 
Avails to awe save these delusions bred 
From its own strength, its sel&ame strength dis- 
guised. 
Mocking itself. Be brave, dear Aureole ! Since 
The rabbit has his shade to frighten him. 
The fawn a rustling bough, mortals their cares. 
And higher natures yet would slight and lang^ 
At these entjMigTing fantasies, as you 
At trammels of a weaker intellect, — 
Measure vonr.- mind's height by the shade it 
^^ casts I 
I know you. 

Par. And I know you, dearest Festus 1 

And how you love unworthily ; and how 
All admiration renders blind. 

Fest. You hold 

That admiration blinds ? 
Par. Ay and alas ! 

Fest* Nan ^t bli nd s you less than admiration , 

AAen ctT 

Whether it l)e that all love renders wise 

In its diggreB pfrom- hiva wlitsh 'blends with 

love — 
Heart answering heart — to love which spenda 

itself 
In silent mad idolatry of some 
Pre-eminent mortal, some great soul of soula, 
Which ne'er will know how well it is adored. 
I say, such love is never blind ; but rather 
Alive to every the minutest si>ot 
Which mars its object, and which hate (supposed 
So vigilant and searching) dreams not of. 
Love broods on such : what then ? When first 

perceived 
Is there no sweet strife to forget, to change. 
To overflush those blemishes with all 
The glow of general goodness they disturb ? 
— To make those very defects an endless souiee 
Of new affection grown from hopes and f ears ? 
And, when all faUs, is there no gallant stand 
Ma^e even for much proved weak ? no shrinking 

back 
Lest, since all love assimilates the soul 
To what it loves, it should at length become 
Almost a rival of its idol ? Trust me. 
If there be fiends who seek to work our hurt. 
To ruin and drag down earth's mightiest spirita 
Even at Qod's foot, 't will be from such aslove^ 
Their zeal will gather most to serve their eause ; 
And least from those who hate, who most essay- 
By contumely and scorn to blot the light 
Which forces entrance even to their hearts : 
For thenoe will our defender tear the veil 
And show within each heart, as in a shrine. 
The giant image of perfection, grown 



PARACELSUS 



33 



Inliafte's deqnte, whose oalnmniee wore spawned 

h tlie nntroabled pfesenoe of its eyes. 

Tn» sdmixatioii blinds not ; nor am I 

So blind. I call year sin ezoeptional ; 

It springs from one whose lire has passed the 

bminds 
IV«Beribed to life. Compound that fault with 

God! 
. I qiesk of men ; to oonomon men like me 

)T« weakness you reyeal endears you more, 
like the fsr traces of denFty inswMii ~. • 
I bid yon haye good cheer I 
• Par. -- ■' Prceclare! Optime ! 

Tkbk of a oniet monntainHsloistered priest 
Lstnutbi^ Puaeelsus I vet ^t is so. 
Conie^ I wdl show you where my merit lies. 
T is in the advanoe of individual minds 
Hist the slow crowd should ground their expee- 

tation 
EvatosUy to follow ; as the sea 
Waits ages in its bed till some one wave 
Oit of the multitudinoos mass, extends 
The empire of the whole, some feet perhaps, 
(her the strip of sand which could confine 
UafellowB so long time : thenceforth the rest, 
Eien to the meanest, hurry in at once. 
Audio much is clear gained. I shall he glad 
If all my labors, failing of aught else, 
Suffice to make such inroad and procure 
A wider nuoge for thou^t : nay, they do this ; 
^oTj whatsoe'er my noUons of true knowledge 
a iegttiinate snceess, may be, 




My foOoweis y- uiey are noisy as you heard ; 
But, for intelligence, the best of tnem 
So efamunly wield the weaiwns I supply 
And they extol, that I begin to doubt 
Whether their own rude cmbs and pebble-stones 
Would not do better service than my arms 
Thns vildtv swayed — if error will not fall 
Sooner before the old awkward batterings 
uan my more ""^^ Vftrfarp, "^*^ ^'^^ learned. 

Fetl, Twontct mipply that art, then, or with- 
hold 
New acms until you teach their mystery. 

Par. Content yon, 't is my widi ; I have 



To die nn^est training. Day by dav I seek 
To wake the mood, the spirit which alone 
Cbi uttke those arms of any use to men. 
Of eoorae they are for swaggering forth at once 
faeed with Uljfsses' bow, Achilles' shield ~ 
nHh on us, all in armor, thou Achilles I 
Jbke our hearts dance to thy resounding stop I 
Anoper sight to scare the crows away ! 
raL Vvby yon choose not then some other 
method 

Buag at your point. The marvellous art 
^hagth eatabliflhed in the world bids fair 
»MBedy aD hindrances like these : 
i^t to Frobeniiis* press the precious lore 
pned by olUluttn maimer, or unfit 
' wvr beginoexB ; let his ^pes secure 
•AiHtUeas moniiment to after-time ; 



Meanwhile wait eonfidently and enjoy 
The ultimate effect : sooner or late^ 
Ton shall be all-revealed. 

Par. The old duU question 

In a new form ; no more. Thus : I possess 
Two sorts of knowledge ; one, — vast, shadowy. 
Hints of the unbounded aim I once pursued : 
The other consists of many secrets, caught 
Wldle bent on nobler prize, — perhaps a few 
Prime principles which mav conduct to much : 
These last I offer to my foUowers here. 
Now, bid me chronicle the first of these. 
My ancient study, and in effect you bid 
Revert to the wud courses just abjured : 
I must go find them scattered through the world. 
Tlien, for the principles, they are so simple 
(Being chiefly of the overturning sort). 
That one time is as proper to propound them 
As anv other — to-morrow at my class. 
Or half a century hence embalmed in print. 
For if mankind mtend to learn at all. 
They must begin by giving faith to them 
And actiDg on them : and I do not see 
But that my lectures serve indifferent well : 
No doubt these dogmas fall not to the earth, 
For all their novelty and rugged setting. 
I think my class will not forget the day 
I let them know the gods of Israel, 
Aetius, Oribasins, GtQen, Rhasis, 
Serapion, Avioenna, Averroes, 
Were blocks I 

Fest. And that reminds me, I heard some- 
thing 
About your wftjwardness : you burned their 

books, ^s 
It seems, instead of answering those sages. 

Par. And who sa^ that ? 

Fest. * (Some I met yesternight 

With CEoolampadius. As you know, the purpose 
Of this, short stey at Basel was to learn 
His pleasure touching certain missives sent 
For our Zuiuglius and himself. 'T was he 
Apprised me that the famous teacher here 
Was my old friend. 

Par. Ah, I forgot : you went . . . 

Fest. From Zurich with advices for the ear 
Of Luther, now at Wittenberg — (you know, 
I make no doubt^ the differences of late 
With Carolostedins) — and returning sought 
Basel and . . . 

Par. I remember. Here *s a case, now. 

Will teach you why 1 answer not, but bum 
The books you mention. Pray, does Luther 

dream 
His arguments convince by their own force 
The crowds that own his doctrine ? No, indeed ! 
His plain denial of established i>ointB 
Ages had sanctified and men supposed 
Gould never be oppugned while earth was under 
And heaven above them — pointe which chance 

or time 
Affected not — did more than the array 
Of argument which followed. Rnl<H y nfl^y f^ 
There is much breath-stopping, halr-stiffenui^ 
Awhile ; then, amazed elances, mute awaiting 
The thunderbolt which does not come : and neirt. 
Reproachful wonder and inquiry ; those 
Who else had never stirred, are able now 



34 



PARACELSUS 



To find the reet out for themselyes, perhaps 
I To outsteip him ixrho set the -whole at work, 
^ — Ab never will my wise class its instmctor. 
And yon saw Lather ? 
Fest, 'T is a wondrous sonl I 

Par, Tme : the so-heavy chain wl^oh galled 

mankind 
Is shattered, and the noblest of us all 
Most bow to the deliverer — nay, the worker 
Of our own project — we who long before 
Had burst our trammels, but forgot the crowd. 
We should have taught, still groaned beneath 

their load : 
This he has done and nobly. Speed that may ! 
Whatever be my chance or my mischance, 
What benefits mankind must glad me too ; 
And men seem made, though not as I believed. 
For something better than the times produce. 
Witness these gangs of peasants your new lights 
From Suabia have possessed, whom Miinzer 

leads, 
And whom the duke, the landgrave and the 

elector 
Will calm in blood ! Well, weU ; 't is not my 

world ! 
Fest. Hark! 

Par. 'T is the melancholy wind astir 

Within the trees ; the embers too are gray : 
Mom must be neur. 

Fest, Best ope the casement : see. 

The night, late strewn with clouds and flying 

stars. 
Is blank and motionless : how i>eaceful sleep 
The tree-tops altopfether I Like an asp, 
The wind shps whispering from bough to bough. 
Par, Ay ; you would gaze on a wind-shaken 

tree 
By the hour, nor count time lost. 

Fest, ^ So ^ou shall gaze : 

Those happy times will come again. 

Par, ^ Gone, gone. 

Those pleasant times! Does not the moaning 

wind ■' '•■• " ' ' 

Seem to bewail that we have gained such gains 
And bartered sleep for them ? 

Fest, It is our trust 

That there is yet another world to mend 
All error and mischance. 

Par, Another world ! 

And why this world, this common world, to be 
A make-shift, a mere foil, how fair soever. 
To some fine life to come ? Man must be fed 
With angels* food, forsooth; and some few 

traces 
Of a diviner nature which look out 
Through his corporeal baseness, warrant him 
In a supreme contempt of all provision 
For his inferior tastes — some straggling marks 
Which constitute his essence, just as truly 
As here and there a gem would constitute 
The rock, their barren bed, one diamond. 
But were it so — were man all mind — he gains 
A station little enviable. From Ood 
Down^ to the lowest spirit ministrant,^ 
Intelligence exists which casts our mind 
Into immeasurable shade. No, no : 
^■^"^q, h?r^i ^?ftri *nit^ — thsBemake humanity ; 
These are its sign and note anctlsfaaraetefr" 






And these I have lost ! — gone, shut from me 

forever^ ^ 
Like a dead mend safe from unkindness more ! 
See, mom at length. The heavy darkness seems 
Diluted, gn^y and clear without the stars ; 
The shrubs bestir and rouse themselves as if 
Some snake, that weighed them down all night, 

let go 
His hold ; and from the East, fuller and fuller 
Day, like a mighty river, flowing in ; 
But clouded, wintry, desolate and cold. 
Tet see how that broad prickly stai^shaped 

plant, ^ 
Half-down in the crevice, spreads its woolly 

leaves 
All thick and glistering with diamond dew. 
And you depart for Eiusiedeln this day. 
And we have spent all night in talk like this ! 
If you would have me better for your love, 
Revert no more to these sad themes. 

Fest, One favor. 

And I have done. I leave you, deeply moved ; 
Unwilling to have fared so well, the while 
My friend has changed so sorely. If^uajnood 
S hiall p^q s fl'°^°ri '^ Bght once more anse 
Wnere all is darkness now, if yon see fit 
To hoiie^and trust again, and strive again. 
You will remember — not our love alone — 
But that my faitii in God's desire that man 
Should trust on his support, (as I must think 
Ton trusted) is obscnrad and dim thronerh you : 
For you are thus, and this is no reward. 
Will you not call me to your side, dear Aoreole ? 



IV. PARACELSUS ASPIRES 

Sens, Cdmar in AUaUa : an Inn. W2S. 

Pabagxlsub, Fsbtub. 

Par. (to Johannes Oporinus, Ai< Secretary), 

Sic itur ad astra ! Dear Yon Visenburg 
Is scandalized, and poor Torinus paralyzed. 
And every honest soul that Basel holds 
Aghast ; and yet we live, as one may say. 
Just as though liechtenf els had never set 
So true a value on his sorry carcass. 
And learned Piitter had not frowned ns domb. 
We live ; and shall as surelv start to-morrow 
For Nuremberg, as we drink speedy scathe 
To Basel in this mantling wine, suffused 
A delicate blush, no fainter tinge is bom 
I^ the shut heart of a bud. Pledge me, good 

John — 
*^ Basel ; a hot plague ravage it, and Piitter 
Oppose the plague ! * ' Even so ? Do vou too share 
Tneir panic, the reptiles ? Ha, ha ; faint through 

these. 
Desist for these \ They manage matters so 
At Basel, *t is like : but others may find means 
To bring the stoutest braggart of the tribe 
Once more to crouch in silence — means to breed 
A stupid wonder in each fool agaiuj 
Now big with admiration at the skill 
Which stript a vain pretender of his plumes : 
And, that done, — means to brand each slavish 

brow 




\ 




PARACELSUS 



35 



So deeply, snrelj, ineffaoeabW, 
That biencef orth flattery shall not pucker it 
Oat of tlie furrow ; there that stamp shall sta; 
To show the next they fawn on, what they t 
This Basel with its magnates, — fill my oup, , 
Whom I emse soul and umb. And now dispatbh, 
I)ispateh, my trusty John ; and what remains 
To do^ whate'er arrangements for our trip 
Are jet to be completed, see you hasten 
Tfak night ; we '11 weather the storm at least : 

to-morrow 
ForNnrembe^! Now leayens; this gfravederk 
Has diTBis weighty matters for my ear : 

lOroBiam goes <mL 
And ^aremv lungs. At last, my gallant Festns, 
I am rid of tius areh-knaye that dogs my heels 
As a gaunt crow a gasping sheep ; at last 
May give a looee to my delight. How kind, 
How Teiy kind, my first best only friend I 
Why, this looks like fidelity. Embrace me ! 
Not a hair silyered yet ? Right ! you shall liye 
TQl I am worth your loye ; you shall be proud. 
And I — but let time show ! Did you not won- 
der? 
I lent to you because our compact weighed 
Upon my conscience — (you recall the night 
At Basel, whioh^the gods confound I) — h^^ntu^. 
'^ ' iiue. I call you to my side: 

(oa eome. if ou thought my message strange ? 

Fest. ^ So strange 

That I must hope, indeed, your messenger 
HsB mingled his own fancies with the words 
Parpo r ti ng to be yours. 

Par. He said no more, 

T is mobable, than the precious folk I leaye 
Said nftyf old more roughly. WeUaday, 
*T is true! morF^raceb^Jfijazpoeed 
At last ; a mOR Egregious quack he proyes : 
Am fliose he oy ery«^^«»'^ T*" l! tt ff P^^- *^fiiir ^^*^ 
Oa one WIU», uiKrly beneath contempt, 
Coold yet deeeiye their topping wits. Tou 

heard 
Bore truth ; and at my bidding you come here 
To i^eed me on my enterprise, as once 
Your lavish wishes sped me, my own friend I 

FesL W^^ js your purposfl , Am-ftnlft 9 

Par, Oh, for purpose, 

TWre is no lack of precedents in a case 
like mine ; at least, if not precisely mine, 
The case at men cast off by those tney sought 
To benefit. 

Fest. They really cast you off ? 

I only heard a yague tale of some priest. 
Cored b;^ your skill, who wrangled at your 

ehom, 
l^feowmg his life's worth best ; and how the 

judge 
The matter was referred to saw no cause 
To interfere, nor yon to hide ^ronr full 
Ccntempt of him ; nor he, ^ain, to smother 
fii wra^ thereat, which raised so fierce a 

flonie 
tkat Basel soon was made no place for you. 

Par. The affair of liechtenf els ? the shal- 

lowest fable, 
ue last and silliest outrage —mere pretence I 
ikaew it, I foretold it from the first, 
&v soon the stuind wonder you mistook 



, Fant 
Nigol 



For genuine loyalty — a cheering promise 
Of better things to come — would pall and pass ; 
And eyexy word comes true. I ^nl is amon g 
yT he proph et s I Just so long as i was pleased 
f To play otf the mere antics of my art, 
Fsmtastic gambols leading to no end, 
' got huge praise : but one can ne'er keep down 
fooush nature's weakness. There i^ey 
flocked, 

Poor deyils, jostling, swearing and perspiring. 
Till the walls rang again ; and all for me I 
I had a kindness lor them, which was right ; 
But th^ I stopped not till I tacked to tnat 
A trust in them and a respect — a sort 
Of sjrmpathy for them ; I must needs bes^n 
To te ach them ^nf*<- <x«in^^o»p '*■■ to impart 
Tfie'spirit which should iusti^te the search 
Of truth," just what you bade me I I spoke out. 
Forthwith a mighty squadron, in disgust. 
Filed off — ''the sifted chaff of the sack," I 

said. 
Redoubling my endeayors to secure 

The rest. Whpn l^ \ ^^^ Tnnti h»A tiftiT^A^I OA 

long 
O^y 'to asce.rta4a.iyf I supported 
T hial;enet of hip, nr ^^t] aniotlier loyed 
Tu hti&r IjupafEiaily before he judged. 
And haying heard, now judged; tnis bland 

disciple 
Passed for my dupe, but all along, it seems. 
Spied error where his neighbors maryeJled 

most; 
That fiery doctor who had hailed me friend. 
Did it because my by-paths, once proyed wrong 
And beaconed properly, woidd commend again 
The good old ways our sires jogged safely o'er. 
Though not their squeunish sons; the other 

worthy 
Discoyered diyers yerses of St. John, 
Which, read successiyely, refreshed the soul. 
But, muttered backwards, cured the gout, the 

stone. 
The colic and what not. Quid mvka t The end 
Was a clear dasa-room, and a quiet leer 
From graye folk, and a sour reproachful glance 
From those in chief who, cap in hand, installed 
The new professor scarce a year before ; 
And a yast flourish about patient merit 
Obscured awhile by flashy tricks, but sure 
Sooner or later t6 emerge in splendor — 
Of which the example was some luckless wight 
Whom my arriyal nad discomfited. 
But now, it seems, the general yoice recalled 
To fill my chair and so efface the stain 
Basel had long incurred. I sought no better. 
Only a quiet dismiBsal from my post. 
And from my heart I wished mem better suited 
And better seryed. Gk>od night to Basel, 

then ! 
But fast as I proposed to rid the tribe 
Of my obnoxious back, I could not spare them 
The pleasure of a parting kick. 

Fest. Yon smi le : 

Despise them as they merit ! 
Par. If I smile, 



.'T Ja-witLas yery contempt as everTurtied 
Flesh into stone. This courteous recompense. 
This grateful . . . Festus, were your nature fit 



36 



PARACELSUS 






To be defiled, your eyes the eyes to ache 
At gangrene'blotches, eatinpr poison-blaiiis, 
The uloerous barky scurf of leprosy 
Which finds — a man, and leayes — a 'hideous 

things 
That cannot but be mended by hell-fire, 
— I would lay bare to you the_hjmian heart 
Wh^h God cursed long^ ago, anodevilB liiiake 

""Bines" 
Their pet nest, and their never-tiring home. 
OHT sages have discorered we are bom 
For various ends — to love, to know: has ever 
One stumbled, in his searcn, on any sinis 
Of a nature in us formed to hate ? To hate ? 
If itifkt be our true object which evokes 
Our powers in fullest strength, be sure H is hate I 
Tet men have doubted if^uie beet and bravest 
Of spirits can nourish him with hate alone. 
I had not the monopoly of fools, 
It seems, at Basel. 

Fest, But your plansL your plans 1 

I have yet to leain your purpose, Aureole ! 

Par, Whether to sink beneath such ponder- 
ous shame. 
To shrink up like a crushed snail, undergo 
Li fiilence and desist from further toil. 
And so subside into a monument 
Of one their censure blasted ? or to bow 
Cheerfully as submissively, to lower 
My old pretensions even as Basel dictates, 
To drop into the rank her wits assign me 
And live as they nrescribe^ and maKe that use 
Of my poor knowledge which their rules allow. 
Proud to be patted now and then, and careful 
To practise tne true posture for receiving 
The amplest benefit from their hoofed appliance 
When they shall condescend to tutor me ? 
Theuj one ma^ feel resentment Uke a flame 
Withm, and deck false systems in truth^s garb. 
And tangle and entwine mankind with error. 
And give them darkness for a dower and false- 
hood 
For a possession, ages : or one may mope 
Into a shade through thinking, or else orowse 
Into a dreamless sleep and so die off. 
But I, — now Festus shall divine I — but I 
Am merely setting oat once mnr^, fimbrafiiug 
M ^ear l iest aim s aya in ! WhattmnkaJifi iio^jv^ ? 

rOr, I our amis? the allBffr— -to Know? 
and where is found 
The early trust . . . 

Par.^ Nay, not so fast ; I say, 

The aim s — not,.^Q..QldJDiaafla. Ton know 
^^"""^^frey niade me 

A laughingstock ; I was a fool : you know 
llie when and the how: hardly those means 

again! 
Not but they had their beauty ; who should 

know 
Their passing beauty, if not I ? Still, dreams 
They were, so let them vanish, yet in beauty 
If that may be. Stay : thus they pass in song ! 

[J5f6 tings. 

Heap cassia, sandal-buds and stripes 
' Of labdanum, and aloe-balls, 

Smeared with dull nard an Indian wipes 
From out her hair : such balsam falls 
Down searside mountain pedestals. 



From tree-tops where tired winds are fain. 
Spent with tne vast and howling main, 
To treasure half their island-gam. 

And strew faint sweetness from some old 

E^pTptian's fine worm-eaten shroud 
Which breaks to dust when once unrolled ; 

Or shredded perfume, like a doud 
From closet long to quiet vowed. 
With mothed and dropping arras hung. 
Mouldering her lute and books among. 
As when a queen, long dead, was young. 

Mine, every word I And on such pile shall die 
My lovely rancies, with fair perished things. 
Themselves fair and forgotten ; yes, forgotten. 
Or wh^ abjure them ? ^ So, I inade this rhyme 
That fitting dignity might be preserved : 
No little proud was I ; tliough the list oi drugs 
Smacks of my old vocation, and the verse 
Halts like the best of Luther's psalms. 

Fest. But, Aureole, 

Talk not thus wildly and madly. I am here — 
Did you know all! I have travelled far, in- 
deed. 
To leam ^our wishes. B e yourself ayai n ! 
For in this mood I recogiiize you less 
Than in the horrible despondency 
I witnessed last. Tou may account tiius, joy ; 
But rather let me gaze on that despair 
Than heur these incoherent words and see 
This flushed cheek and intensely-sparkling eye. 

Par, Why, man, I was light-hearted in my 
prime, 
I am light-hearted now ; what would you have ? 
Aprile was a poet, I make songs — 
*Tis the very augury of success I want ! 
Whv should I not be joyous now as then ? 

Fest, Joyous ! and how ? and what remains 
for joy ? 
Tou have declared the ends (which I am sick 
Of naming) are impracticable. 

Par, ' Ay, \ 

Pursued as I pursued them — the arch-fool ! "i 
Listen: my plan will please you not, 't is Uke, 
But ^ou are little versed in tne world's wavs. 
This IS my plan — (first drinkii^ its good luck) —- 
I will accept aUJifilsft; all I despised 
»5o riisMy at" tneout8et,_fiaii^ly 
With early impulses, late years have quenchedi 
I have tried each way singflv : now for both I 
All helps ! no one sort shall exclude the rest. 
I seek to know and tio enjoy at once, 
Not one without the other as before. 
Suppose my labor should seem God's own cause v \ 
Once more, as first I dreamed, — it shall not 
balk me ^^ 

Of the meanest earthHest sensualest delight ^^ 
That may, be snatched ; for every jov is gain, ' 
And gain is gain, however small. My soul 
Can die then, nor be taunted — ** whtCt was 

gained ? " 
Nor, on the other hand, should pleasure follow 
As though I bad not spurned her hitherto. 
Shall she overcloud my spirit's n^>t oommumon 
With the tmn^^^^^^ past, the teeming future, 
Glorious 'With vifflons of a full success. 



w 



i* 



»A 



\ 



PARACELSUS 



.^^ 



Far, And wherefore not ? Why not prefer 
Resnlts ohtained in my best state of being. 
To thoee derived alone from seasons dark 
As the thoughts they bied ? When I was best, 

my youth 
TJnwastod, seemed snooess not surest too ? 
It is the nature of darkness to obscure. 
I am a wanderer : I remember well 
One joomey, how I feared the track waa missed, 

Lay hid; when suddenly its sinres afar 
Fluhed throus^ the circling clouds ; you may 

coDoeiTe 
My ttaasDort. Soon the vapors closed again, 
Bat I had seen ^e city, ana one such gltuioe 
No darkneas could obscure : nor shall the pres- 
ent — 

few dnll hours, a passing shame or two, 
DHBtroy the vivia memories of the past. 
I win nght the battle out ; a little spent 
FohapB, but still an able combatant. 
Ton look at my gray hair and furrowed brow ^ 
But I can turn even weakness to account : 
Of many tricks I know, 't is not the least 
To posh the ruins of my frame, whereon 
The fire of vigor trembles scarce alive, 
lato a heap, and send the flame aloft. 
What should I do with age ? So, sickness lends 
An aid ; it being, I fear, the source of all 
We boMt of: mind is nothing but,jliseji|se. 
And oatnral hesICh is ignorance". ' ' ' 7 

Fat^^,,,^ •' — '^' ■ • ^^ "^ I see 

But one good symntom in this notable scheme. 
I feared your sudden journey had in view 
To wreak immediate vengeance on your f oes^ 
TisDotso: I am glad. 

Far, And if I please 

To qiit on them, to trample them, what then ? 
Tis sorry warfare truly, bat the fools 
Provoke it. I would snare their self-conceit, 
Bnt if they must provoke me, cannot suffer 
ForiMarsnce on -my part, if I may keep 
Ko quality in the shade, must needs put forth 
Power to match nower, my strength against 

their strength. 
And teach them thdr own game with their 



Why, be it BO and let them take their chance ! 
re thei" likp "^ iffldi ^^****^ '* 
TaST 




no 
e scruples, then. 



ag»%/y J ^VUAv XkAA^^ «9x/a. i« VA.W3* waAv 

TEat ever bade me soften it, 
Gommnnieate it gently to the world. 
Instead of proving my supremacy, ^ 
Taking my natural stetion o^er their head, 
Then owmng idl the p:lory was a man^s I 
—And in my elevation man's would be. 

' Bat live and learn, though life 's short, learn- 
ing hard! 
Aid therefore, though the wreck of my past self, 

I Ifear, dear Piitter, that your lecture-room 

I Hast wait awhile for its best ornament, 

Mhe penitent empiric, who set up 

L P«r scmaebody, but soon was taught his place ; 

- %m^ bat too happy to be let comess 
Bii error, annff the candles, and illustrate 
9iat experientia corpore vili) 
Tdor medicine's soundness in his person. Wait, 
Qsod Pntter ! 



Fest, ^? vho gn aa rs thiifli in a f ni^ I 

Far, Ay, ay, langh4ttme ! I am very glad 
Ton are not gulled by all this swaggering ; you 
Can see the root of the matter I — how 1 strive 
To put a good face on the overthrow 
I have experienced^ and to bury and hide 
My degradation in its length and breadth ; 
How the mean motives I would make you think 
Just mingle as is due with nobler aims. 
The appetites I modestiy allow 
May influence me as being mortal still -^ 
Do goad me, drive me on, and fast supplant 
My youth's desires. Tou are no stupid dupe : 
Yon find me out ! Tes, I had sent for you 
To palm these childish lies upon you, Festusi 
Laugh — you shaU laugh at me ! 

Fegt, The past, then, Aureole, 

Proves nothing ? Is our interchange of love 
Tet to begin ? Have I to swear I mean 



37 ,. 



Qc-whesofgre this disQcder r You are vexed 
As much by the intrusion of base views, 






Familiar to your adversaries, as they 

Were troubled should your qualities alight 

Amid their murky souls : not otherwise, 

A stray wolf which the winter forces down 

From our bleak hills, suffices to affright 

A village in the vales — while foresters 

Sleep cahn, though all night long the famished 

troop 
Snuff round and scratch against their crazy huts. 
These evil thoughts are monsters, and wm flee. 
Far, May you be happy, Festus, my own 

friend 1"'^' •, 

Fest. Nay, further ; the delights you fain 

would think 
The superseders of your nobler aims. 
Though ordinary and harmless stimulants. 
Will ne'er content you. . . . 

Far. Hush II nnrr dngpinfld them, 

B^t that aoumjfaaasfit We are high at first 
In our demand, nor will abate a jot 
Of toil's strict value ; but time passes o'er. 
And humbler spirits accept what we refuse : 
In short, when some such comfort is doled out 
As these delights, we cannot long retain 
Bitter contempt which ui^s us at first 
To hurl it back, bnt hug it to our breast 
And thankfully retire. This life of mine 
Must be lived out and a grave thoroughly 

earned: 
I am just fit for that and naught beside. 
I told you once, I ^mnnftt "^^ ""j'^yi 
Unless I deem my knowledge gainathrongh^OiM 
Nor can I know, but straight warm trara TOTfinl 
' "" '* ' to 'knowledge : 

. ^^ jpeak, of course. 

Confusedly ; tnis willbetter explain — feel here ! 
Quick beating, is it not ? — a fire of the heart 
To work off some way, this as weU as any. 
So , Festus sees me fairly launched ; his cahn 
CompassiSnstciook might have disturbed me 

once, 
But now, far from rejecting, J invite 
What bids me press the closer, lay myself 




38 



PARACELSUS 



♦ V' 






O pen b efore him, and be soothed w ith 

1 nope, i f h e c ommimd h 6pe, and belief 

As he directs me — satiating myself 

With his enduring love. And Festus quits me 

To give place to some credulous disciple 

Who holds that God is wise, but Paracelsus 

Has his peculiar merits : I suck in 

That homage, chuckle o^er that admiration, 

And then cusmiss the fool ; for ni^ht is come. 

And I betake myself to study again. 

Till patient searchings after nidden lore 

Hall wring some bright truth from its prison ; 

my frame 
Trembles, my forehead's veins swell out, my 

luur 
Tineles for triumph. Slow and sure the niom 
Shall break on my pent room and dwindling 

lamp 
And furnace dead, and scattered earths and 

ores ; 
When, with a failing heart and throbbing brow, 
I must review my captured truth, sum up 
Its value, trace what ends to what begins. 
Its present power with its eventual bearings, 
Latent affinities, the views it opens. 
And its full length in perfecting my scheme. 
I view it sternly circumscribed, cast down 
\, . From the high place m>[ fond hopes yielded it. 
Proved worthless — which, in getting, yet had 

cost 
' ' Another wrench to this fast^f ailing frame. 
T hen, qm ck, the c up t^ gnaff , thfi^*^ yhaMfta gar- 

\ TOW I "" 

I lapse back into yout h 
My~flirtJS!rtJg pnTse.for fixidencaiHat^od 
Means goodtb me, will make my cau»B^s "WP - - 
Seet 1 have cost off this femdfsetess care 
Which dopfged a spirit bom to soar so free, 
And my dim chamber has become a tent, 
Festus IS sitting by me, and his Michal . . . 
Why do you start ? I say, she listening here, 
(For yonder — Wiirzburg through the orchard- 
bough !) 
Motions as though such ardent words should 

find 
No echo in a maiden's quiet soul, 
But her pure bosom heaves, her eyes fill fast , 
With tears, her sweet lips tremble all the while I 
Ha, ha I 

Fest, It seems, then, you expect to reap 
No unreal joy from this your present course, 
But rather . . . 

Par. Death I To die I I owe that much 

To what, at least, I was. I should be sad 
To live contented after such a fall. 
To thrive and fatten after such reverse ! 
The whole plan is a makeshift, but will last 
My time. 

Fest, And you have never mused and said, 
^^ I had a noble purgpee, and the atEeugth 
To compass it ; out i have atopp^jLh&u-yayi 
And wrongljjr given the fiirst-f ruits .of mj toil 
'^ objects httla worthy of ^jegift. 
why linger round them^still? why clench 

fault? 
Wliy Beak for consolation in.dfiffiftt. 
In vfiun endeavors to derive a beauty 
From nglinesB ? why seek to make the most 



my 



Of what no power cui change, nor strive i nstea d 
With mighty f ffnrfc t^ rft^^*^ftTTi j^lin past 
inthenng u 



d, gaiEEenng up the treasures thus cast down, 
T/^ VinJA fl^ Qf^iiTlfBfit; ffflnrpa fill I arrive 

At their fit *^^°*^"«*^^" anil xoyo^n ? " 
You lukve never pondered thus ? 

Par. ^ ^ Have I, you ask ? 

Often at midnight, when most fancies come, 
Would some such airy project visit me : 
But ever at the end ... or will you hear 
The same thing in a tale, a parable ? 
You and I, wandering over the world wide, 
Chance to set foot upon a desert coast. 
Just as we cry, **' No human voice before 
Broke the inveterate silence of these rocks ! '^ 
— Their querulous echo startles us ; we turn : 
What ravaged structure still looks o^er the sea ? 
Some characters remain, too ! While we read. 
The sharp salt wind, impatient for the last 
Of even this record, wistfully comes and goes. 
Or sings what we recover, mocking it. 
This is the record ; and my voice, the wind^s. 

life sings. 
Over the sea our galleys went. 
With cleaving prows in order brave 
To a speeding wind and a bounding wave 

A geulant armament : 
Each bark built out of a forest-tree 

Left leafy and rough as first it grew. 
And nailed all over the gaping siaes. 
Within and without, wiui olack buli-hidea, ^" 
Seethed in fat and suppled in flame, ^ % 

To bear the playful billows' game : / ^ ^ 
So, each good ship was rude to see, } i 
Rude ana bare to the outward view^-', ^ ■ 

But each upbore a stately tent ^ ^ 
Where cedar pales in scented tow < 
Kept out the flakes of the dancing brine. 
And an awning drooped the mast nelow, ' ' 
In fold on fold of the purple fime. 
That neither noontide nor starshine 
Nor moonlight cold which m^eth mad, 

Might pierce the reeal tenement. 
When the sun dawned, oh, gay and glad 
We set the sail and plied the oar ; 
But when the night-wind blew like breath. 
For joy of one day's voyage more, 
We sang together on the wide sea. 
Like men at peace on a peaceful shore ; 
Each sail was loosed to the wind so free. 
Each helm made sure by the twilight star, 
And in a sleep as calm as death, 
We, the voyagers from afar. 

Lay stretched along, each weary crew 
In a circle round its wondrous tent 
Whence gleamed soft light and curled rich 
scent. 
And with light and perfume, music too : 
So the stars wheeled round, and the darknees 

past. 
And at mom we started beside the mast. 
And still each ship was sailing fast. 

Now, one mom, land appeared — a speck 
Dim trembling betwixt sea and sky: 
" Avoid it," cried our pilot, ** check 

The shout, restrain tne eager eye ! '' 
But the heaving sea was black behind 



y 



^ 




PARACELSUS 



39 



For many a niglit and many a day. 
And land, though but a rock, drew nigh ; 
So, we broke the oedar pales away, 
Let the piuple awning nap in the wind, 

And a rt^^fi^jogiy^ ^OB oi^vQrT deck I 
We sbontedTTiV^ry^ man of us/*"^"*^^-^ 
And steered right into the harbor thus, 
With pomp smd psean glorious. 

A hnndred shapes of lucid stone ! 

All day we bnilt its shrine for each, 
A afaiine of rock for every one, 
N<v paused till in the westering sun 

We sat together on the beach 
To aing because our task was done. 
Whai lo ! what shouts and merry soi^ I 
What laughter all the distance stirs ! 
A loaded raft with happy throngs 
Of gentle islanders ! 
**Uar isles are iust at hand,^^ they cried, 

**Like cloudlets faint in even sleeping. 
Oar temple^T&tes are opened wide. 

Our ohve-groves thick shade are keeping 
For these majestic forms " — they criea. 
Oh, Uien we awoke with sudden start 
From our deep dream, and knew, too late. 
How bare the rock, how desolate. 
Which had received our precious freight : 

Yet we called out — " Depart ! 
Our gifts, once given, must nere abide. 

Oar work is done ; we have no heart 
To mar our work," — we cried. 

Fat. Intruth? 

Par. Nay, wait: all this in tracings faint 

Ob rag^ stones strewn here and there, but 

piled 
In QToer onoe: then follows — mark what fol- 
lows! 
" The sad ih^rme of the men who proi^dlv cl ung 
Toibflb-fl Kft U k idtf and witherpi^ in their pri J e»" 
Fat. Come back then, Ajireole ; jaa you fear 
God, come ! <4'Hi y**^Mj}^ 
/pnyaioiilAii^jQasiBJiack 
f Forswear the^n tgge ; look for jm:aiaj]iace, 
j Out wail deS^Vsummdns amionoly sights, 
\ And trust me for the event — peace, if not joy. 
Eetan with me to Einsiedeln, dear Aureole f 
^or. No way, no way 1 it would not turn to 
good. 
A spoueas child sleeps on the flowering moss — 
Tis wen for him ; but when a sinful man, 
Eoryxng such slumber, may desire to put 
Hii gnut away, shall he return at once 
To rest hy lying there ? Our sires knew well 
jjMte of the grave disoovertevtif their sons) ^ 
Tk fitting oonrse for such : dark cells, dim 

lamps, 
A stone floor one may writhe on like a worm : 
Bo mossy pillow blue with violets I 

Fttt. I see no symptom of these absolute 
And tyrannous passions. You are calmer now. 
^ Terse-making can purge you well enough 
without the terrible penance you describe. 
T« love me still : the lusts ^ou fear will never 
V ^^''^ yonr friend. To Einsiedeln, once more I 
^«T but the word ! 

rar. No, no ; those lusts forbid : 





They crouch, I know, cowering with half-shut 

eye 
Beside you ; ^tis their nature. Thrust yourself 
Between them and their prey; let some fool 

style me 
Or king or quack, it matters not — then try 
Your wisdom, urge them to forego their treat ! 
No, no : learn better and look deeper, Festus ! 
Ifyou knew how a devil sneers within me 
While you are talking now of this, now that, 
As though we differed scarcely save in trifles ! 
Fest. Do we so differ ? True, change must 
proceed. 
Whether for good or ill ; keep from me, which ! 
Do not confide all secrets : I was bom 
To hope, and you . . . 
Par. To trust : you know the fruits I 

Fest. Listen : I d^ believ e. Trhntyrni niilltmifTt 
Was se lf-delusion _at tha beat : for, seel 
SoTonk as GR>dwQuld kindly pioneer 
Ajiatuov-you, £uid screen you from the world, 
Procure you full exemption from mau^s lot, 
Man^s common hopes and fears, on the mere 

pretext 
Of your engagement in his service —yield you 
A hmitless license, make yon Grod, in fact. 
And turn your slave — you were content tia^aay 
^.""iL'Syj^JY prfl,ipAR i Whatls It, at last. 
But selfishness vathout example ? None 
Co uld trace God^s will so pl ain a s you, while 

Remained implied in it ; but now vou fail, 
And'we, who prate about that will, are fools 
Lo^ortJjbodlB service is establiahedlLfice 
AjEedetermines fit, ana not youi: way. 
And tKii yon caii notbrobk. " ou^ h discon tgat 

J^Tweak. Renounce aUTsreatureship &ronce I 
Affirm an absolute right to have and use 
Your energies; as though the rivers should 

say — 
" We rush to the ocean ; what have we to do '•■• - 
With feeding streamlets, lingering in the vales, i 

• Sleeping in lazy pools ? " Set up that plea, li .1* ^ *** . 

'^ThatwUlbeboldatleastl J^ x^^'.i t^if^ 

Par. 'Tis like enodfe^ ' i 

The agrvf**^*^^^** *tpiritf are those^ no doubt. 
The fiast produces : lo, the master bids, — 
They vaka, r«t^ t.ftrra/»ft« a nd pra rdeftfflaunds 
In one nip:ht'8^space] and,"tma dJcme^ etraighl 
begin 

Ann(f.hftr y«nfnry*g a^^Pi tO the great praisC 

Of him that f ramed^em wise and beautiful, 
Till a lamp's rubbing, or some chance akin, 
Wake them again. 1 jt m of different m ould* 
I would have soothed my lord, and slaved for ^ 

him ^;' - 



'^ 




God's glory otherwise ; this is alone ^*** 
The sphere of its increase, as far as nien V< 
Increase it ; why, then, look beyond this sphere ? 
We. are his glpjy ; ancLif wa be gbwiuuD, - 
Is pnt tlifl thuDg ari iieyed ? 

Fest. Shall one like me 

Judge hearts like yours ? Thnngh yoaw have 

changed yon mneh. 
And y ou have left your first love, and retain 



40 



Ai3^ 



RACELSUS 



•/ 



/ 



Its emptor shade to veil your c roo^ flct ways, 
wnor" " " '-^ 



^.,vC 



\ 



Y^ 

And wEodiall call your oonrse wTEEbdrfeward ? 
For. wherefore this reinning at defeat 
1 Had triumph ne'er inured vou to high hopes ? 
I V I urge vou to forsake the life vou curse, 
I A nff^whfl.^ ff^ipft^ attends me r — simply talk 
\ Ofpassion, weakness and remorse ; in short, 
"> An^rthing but the naked truth — you choose 
This so-despised career, and oheapl v hold 
My happiness, or rather other men's. 
Once more, return 1 

Par. And quioklv. John the thief 

Has pilfered half my secrets by this time : 
And we depart by daybreak. I am weary, 
I know not how ; not even the wine-cup soothes 
My brain to-night ... 
Do you not thorougldy despise me. Fytns ? 
No flattery! Une like you needs not be told 
We live and breathe deceiving and deceive^* 
Do you not scorn me from your heart of hesuis, 
Me and my cant, each petty subterfuge. 
My rhymes and all this f gpthy shower oi word s. 
My glfwnny gelf-dncfjt, m y outward cria st 
Of lies which wrap, as tetter, morphew, furfuj^ 
Wrap the sound flesh ? — so, see you flatter not ! 
Even God flatters : but my friend, at least. 
Is true. I would depart,'s@ctir6 henp_effiactli 
Against alTTarthtif mHUlt^,JiB£e'Bnd. .wrong: ^ 
Fiona puny tOefi';' my one frigndlft. scorn sha ll 
brand me : -"'"' 

Xq f aar of ainking ^^^pftr ]^^^ ^ 

Fegt, ■ ' No, dear Aureole I 

No, no ; I came to counsel faithfuUy. 
There are old rules, made long ere we were 

bom. 
By which I judge you. I, so fallible, 

. So infinitel:^ low beside your mighty 

) Majestic spirit ! — even I can see 

J Yoi w>wn y mq ^ ^ighftr law than ours^W.hicb- C^ 

' Sin. what is no sin — weftftneSd/w'Eatlsstrengtn. 
^But I have only these, such as they are, 
To guide me ; and I blame you where they bid. 
Only so long as blaming promises 
To win peace for your soul: the more, that 

sorrow 
Has fallen on rae of late,and the^ have helped me 
So that I faint not under my distress. 
But wherefore should I scruple to avow 
In spite of all, as brother juaging brother, 
Your f ate is most inexplicab lejQjse ? 
And'shonld you perish without recompense 
And satisfaction yet — too hastily 
I have relied on love : you may have sinned, 
But you have loved. As a mere human mat- 
ter- 
As I would have Gk)d deal with fragile men 
In the end — I ysY ^^^\ y^" will triumph ye t I 
Par^ Have you felt sorroW, FMtus r — t is 
because ^.. . 
You love me. Sorrow, and sweet Michal yours I 
Well thought on : never letJmEJmow_ thi3 last 
Dull windin^p=]xpof all : these miscreants dared 
Insult me — me slieToVed : — 



Ftsi, Your ill success 



now. 



so, grieve her not I 
can little grieve her 



Pea-, ^ichal is dead ! pray Christ we do not 
craze~P ' ""^ — - 




on me 



Ftst» Aureole, dear Aureole, lool 
thus I 

Fool, fooll this is the heart grown sorrow- 
proof — 
I cannot bear those eyes. 

Bar, Nay, really dead ? 

¥e8t» 'T is scarce a month. 

Par, Stone dead I — then you have laid her 
Among the flowers ere this. Now, do yon 

know, 
I can reveal a secret which shall comfort 
Even you. I have no julep, as men think. 
To cheat the grave : but a far better secret. 
Know, then, you did not ill to trust your love 
To the cold earth : I have thought much of it : 
Fny T >M*1tftyf[ wft At^ xuy\ yhftlly '^'^ 

iftst. Aureole I 

Par. Nay, do not laugh ; there is a reason 
For what I say : I think the soul can never 
Taste death. I am, just now, as you may see. 
Very unfit to put so strange a thought 
In an intelligiole dress of words ; 
But take it as my trust, she is not dead. 

¥egt. But not on this account alone? you 
surely, 
— ^Aureole, you have believed this all along ? 

Par, And Michal sleeps among tiie roots 
^^ and dews, »^».— •• - 

While I am moved at Basel, and full of sohemes 
For Nuremberg, and hoping and despitirins. 
As though it mattered how the farce plays out. 
So it be quicklv played. Awav, away ! 
Have your will, rabble! while we flg-ht the 

prizCj 
Troop you in safety to the snug back-seats 
And leave a dear arena for the brave 
About to perish for your sport I — Behold ! 

*^ * *''V. PARACELSUS ATTAINS 



ScBNS, Salzburg : a cell in tJie HatpUal of St. Sebagiian. 

1641. 

FuTus, Pabacslbcb. 

Fest, No change ! The weary night is well- 
nigh spent. 
The lamp bums low, and through the casement- 
bars 
Gray morning glimmers feebly : yet no change I 
Another night, and still no sigh has stirred 
That fallen discolored mouth, no pang relit 
Those fixed eyes, quenched by the decaying: 

body. 
Like torcn-flame choked in dust. While all 

beside 
Was breaking, to the last they held out brij^hl, 
As a stronghold where life intrenched itselr; 
But they are dead now — very blind and dead : 
He will drowse into death without a groan. 

My Aureole — my forgotten, mined Aureole ! 
The days are gone, are gone ! How grand thon 

wast! 
And now not one of those who struck thee 

down — 
Poor glorious spirit — concerns him even to stay 




PARACELSUS 



41 



And satisfy himaelf bis little hand 
Gould torn God's imago to a livid thing. 

Anodier night, and yet no change I 'T is mnoh 
That I shoold sit by him^ and bathe his brow. 
And ehsfie his hands ; 'tis much : bnt he will 



1 



Know me, and look on me, and speak to me 
Ones more — bnt only onoe I His hollow cheek 
Looked all night long as though a creeping 

langh 
At his own state were jnst about to break 
From the dying man : my brain swam, my 

throat swelled. 
And yet I could not turn away. Li truth. 
They told me how, when first brought here, he 

seemed 
KesolTed to lire, to lose no faculty ; 
ThiB striYXttg to keep up his shattered strength, 
Uudl they bore him to this stifling cell : 
When straight his features fell, an hour made 

white 
Tie fludied face, and relaxed the quiyering 

limb, 
Osly the eye remained intense awhile 
As thoogh it recognized the tomb-like place, 
And then he lay as here he lies. 

Ay, here I 
Here is earth's noblest, nobly garlanded — 
Her bravest champion with his well-won 

prize — 
Her b»t achievement, her sublime amends 
For eoontlesB generations fleeting fast 
And followed by no trace ; — the creature-god 
She instaiices when angels would dispute 
The title of her brood to rank with tliem. 
Angek, this is oar angel ! Those bright forms 
We dothe with purple, crown and call to 

throneo. 
Are hvman, bnt not his ; those are but men 
Whom other men press round and kneel before ; 
Thoee palaces are dwelt in by mankind ; 
^^ler provision is for him you seek 
Amid our pomps and glories : see it here I 
Behold earth's paragon! Now, raise thee, 

day I 

God ! HuHi art love I I build my faith on that. 
Even as I watoh beside thy tortured child 
Unooosdoos whose hot tears fall fast by him, 
So doth thv right hand guide us through the 

Wherein we stumble. Gk>d! what shall we say ? 
How has he ranned ? How eke should he have , 

done? 
Ssrely he songht thy praise — thy praise, for all 
He mxriit be busied by the task so much 
As hatt foiget awhile itsjproper end. 
Dost tfaon well. Lord ? Thou canst not but pre- 
fer 
ISmt I should range myself upon his side — 
Hew eoold he stop at every step to set 
Ihygkiry forth? Hadst thou but granted him 
teecas, diy honor would have crowned success, 
Ahalo round a star. Or, say he erred, — 
flnehiiiL, dear God ; it will be like thee : bathe 

him 
bli|^ and lifel Thou art not made like us ; 



We should be wroth in such a case ; but thou 
Fo^vest — so, forgive these passionate thoughts 
Which come unsought and will not pass away ! 

JJuiow thee, who hast kept my patn, and made 
Light for me in the darkness, tempering somow 
So that it reached me like a solemn ioy : 
It were too strange that I should doubt tny love. 
But what am I ? Thou madest him and knowest 

..£Uuv Jie was fashioned. ' X could never err "' 
That way : the quiet place beside thy feet. 
Reserved for me, was ever in my thoughts : 
But he — thou shouldst have favored him as 
weU! 

Ah ! ^^ wnk""" f Aureole, I am here I 't is 

"'TestusI 
I cast away all wishes save one wish — 
Let him but know me, only speak to me ! 
He mutters ; louder and loudier ; any other 
Than I, Mrith brain less laden, could collect 
What he pours forth. Dear Aureole, do but 

look ! 
Is it talking or singing, this he utters fast ? 
Misery that he should flx me with his eye, 
Quick talking to some other all the while ! 
If he would husband this wild vehemence 
Which frustrates its intent ! — I heard, I know 
I heard my name amid those rapid w'ords. 
Ohj he wiU know me yet I Could I divert 
This current, lead it somehow gently back 
Into the channels of the past I — His eye 
Brighter than ever I It must recognize me I 

I am EIrasmus : I am here to pray 
That Paracelsus use his skill for me. 
The schools of Paris and of Padua send 
These questions for your learning to resolve. 
We are your students, noble master : leave 
This wretched cell, what business have you 

here? 
Our class awaits you ; come to us onoe more ! 
(O agony I the utmost I can do 
Touches him not ; how else arrest his ear ?) ^ 
I am commissioned ... I shall craze like him. 
Better be mute and see what Qod shall send. 

Par. Stay, stay with me ! 

Fesi. I will ; I am come here 

To stay with you — Festus, you loved of old ; 
Festns, you know, you must know I 

Par, Festus I Where's 

Aprils, then ? Has he not chanted softly 
The melodies I heard all night ? I could not 
Get to him for a cold hand on my breast, 
But I made out his music well enough, 

well enough I If they have filled nim full 
With magical music, as they freight a star 
With lifjrht. and have remitted all his sin, 
They will torgive me too, I too shall know 1 

Fest. Festus, your Festus I 
Par. Ask him if Aprile 

Knows as he Loves — if I shall Love and Know ? 

1 try ; but that cold hand, like lead — so cold I 
Fest. My hand, see I 

Par. Ah, the curse, Aprile, Aprile ! 

We get so near — so very, very neu* 1 
'T is an old tale : Jove strikes the Titans down. 
Not when they set about their mountain-piling 
But when another rock would crown the work. 



42 



PARACELSUS 



And Phaeton — doubtless his first radiant plunge 
Astonished mortals, thonfi^h the gods were csJm, 
And Jove prepared his thunder : all old tales I 

Fest, And what are these to you ? 

Par. Ay, fiends must laugh 

So cruelly, so well 1 most like 1 never 
Gould tread a sin^g^le pleasure underfoot, 
But they were grmning by my side, were chuok- 
li]Qg 

To see me toil and drop away by flakes I 
Hell-spawn 1 I am glad, most glad, that thus I 

tail! 
Your cunning has o'ershot its aim. One year, 
One month, perhaps, and I had served your 

turn ! 
You should have curbed your spite awhile. But 

now, 
Who will believe 't was you that held me back ? 
Listen : there ^s shame and hissing and con- 
tempt. 
And none but laughs who names me, none but 

spits 
Measureless scorn upon me. me alone, 
The quack, the cheat, the liar, — all on me ! 
And thus your famous plan to sink mankind 
In silence and despair, by teaohinp: them 
One of their race had probed the mmoet truth, 
Had done 'all man could do, yet failed no less — 
Your wise plan proves abortive. Men despair ? 
Ha, ha I why, tney are hooting the empiric. 
The ignorant and mcapable fool who rushed 
Madlv upon a work beyond his wits ; 
Nor doubt they but the simp»leet of themselves 
Gould bring the matter to triumphant issue. 
So, pick and choose among them all, accursed I 
Try now, persuade some other to slave for you. 
To ruin body and soul to work your ends I 
K(K no ; I am the first and last, I think. 
J^est, Deiu- friend, who are accursed? who 

has done . . . 
Par, What have I done ? Fiends dare ask 
that? or you, 
Brave men? Oh, you can chime in boldly, 

backed 
By the others! What had ^rou to do, sage peers ? 
Here stand my rivals ; Latin, Arab, Jew, 
Greek, join dead hands against me : all 1 ask 
Is, that the world enroll my name with theirs. 
And even this poor privilege, it seems, 
They range themselves, prepared to disallow. 
Only observe ! whv, fiends may learn from them ! 
How they talk calmly of my throes, my fierce 
Aspirings, terrible watchings, each one claiming 
Its price of bloody and brain ; how they dissect 
Ana sneeringly disparage the few truths 
Got at a lif e s cost ; they too hanfi^ng the while 
About miy neck, their lies misleading me 
And their dead names browbeating me ! Gray 

crew, 
Tet steeped in fresh malevolence from hell. 
Is there a reason for vour hate ? My truths 
Have shaken a little the palm about each prince ? 
Just think, Aprile, all tnese leering dotards 
Were bent on nothing less than to be crowned 
As we ! That yellow blear-eyed wretch in chief 
To whom the rest cringe low with feigned re- 
elect, 
Ghden of Pergamos and hell — nay speak 



The tale, old man I We met there face to faM : 
I said the crown should fall from thee. Onoe 

more 
We meet as in that ghastly vestibule : 
Look to xnv brow ! Have I redeemed my pledge ? 

Fest. iWce, peace ; ah, see ! 

Par,^ Oh, emptiness of fame ! 

Persic Zoroaster, lord of stars 1 

— Who said these old renowns, dead long ago, 
Gould make me overlook the living world 
To gaze through gloom at where they stood, in- 
deed, 
But stand no longer ? What a warm light life 
After the shade ! In truth, my delicate witdi, 
My serpent-queen, you did but well to hide 
The juggles 1 had else detected. Fire 
May well run harmless o^er a breast like yours ! 
The cave was not so darkened bv the smoke 
But that your white limbs dazzled me : oh, white, 
And panting as they twinkled, wildly dajicing ! 

1 cared not for your passionate gestures then. 
But now I have forgotten the charm of charms, 
The foolish knowledge which I came to seek. 
While I remember that quaint dance ; and thus 
I am come back, not for those mummeries. 
But to love you, and to kiss your little feet 
Soft as an ermine's winter coat I 

Fest. Alight 

Will struggle through these thronging words at 

last, 
As in the uigry and tumultuous West 
A soft star trembles through the drifting clouds. 
These are the strivings of a spirit which hates 
So sad a vault should coop it, and calls up 
The past to stand between it and its fate. 
Were he at Einsiedeln — or Michal here I 
Par. Gruel ! I seek her now — I kneel — I 
shriek — 
ip[ dasp her vesture — but she fades, still fades ; 
.|And she is gone : sweet human love is gone ! 
tT is only when they spring to heaven that angels 
iKeveal themselves to you ; they sit all day 
iBeside you, and lie down at night by yon 
^ho care not for their presence, muse or sleep, 
) And all at once they leave you, and you know 

them ! 
We are so fooled, so cheated ! Why, even now 
I am not too secure against foul play ; 
The shadows deepen and the walls contract : 
No doubt some treachery is going on. 
'T is very dusk. Where are we put. Aprile ? 
Have they left us in the lureh ? This murky 

loathsome 
Death-trap, this slaughter-house, is not the hall 
In the golden city I ICeep by me, Aprile I 
There is a hand groping amid the blackness 
To catch us. Have the spider-fingers got you. 
Poet ? Hold on me for your life ! If once 
They puU you 1 — Hold ! 

'T is but a dream — no more I 
I have vou still ; the sun comes but again ; 
Let us be happy : all will yet go well I 
Let us confer : is it not like, Aprile, 
That spite of trouble, this ordeal passed. 
The value of my labors ascertained, 
Just as some stream foams long among the 

rocks 
But after glideth glassy to the sea. 




PARACELSUS 



43 



SOk fan eontent shall henoef arth be mv lot ? 
Woat think you, poet ? Loader I Your oleaf 



Yibntes too like a luurp-string. Do yon ask 
How eould I still xemain on earth, should God 
Giant me the great approval whion I seek ? 
L yoB, and God can oomprehend each other, 
But men would mnnnnr, and with cause enough; 
For when thev saw me, stainless of all sin, 
Ih me n ed and sanctified by inward light, 
They would complain that comfort, shut from 

them, 
I dnak thus nnespied ; that they^ live on, 
Nor taste the quiet of a constant joy. 
For aehe and care and doubt and weariness. 
While I am calm ; help being vouchsafed to me, 
And hid from them. — 'T were best consider 

thati 
Yob TMBon well, Aprile ^ but at least 
Letneknow this, anddiel Is this too much ? 
I viU learn this, if God so please, and die 1 

If thoB shalt please, dear God, if thou shalt 

please! 
We are so weak, we know our motives least 
Is their confusea beginning. If at first 
I aooght . . . but wherefore bare my heart to 

thee? 
I kaow thy mercy; and already thou^ts 
Flock fast about my soul to comfort it. 
And intimate I cannot wholly fail. 
For love and praise would clasp me willingly 
Coald I resolve to seek them. Thou art good. 
And I should be content. Yet — yet first show 
I have done wrong in daring ! Rather give 
Thesopematural oonsciousness of strength 
Whieh fed my youth I Onlv one hour of that, 
Whh thee to help — O what should bar me 

then! 

Lost, lost! Thus things are ordered herel 

God's creatures, 
And yet he takes no pride in us I — none, none I 
Traly there needs another life to eopa e 1 >^ 
I ttimj ia^bi^U must tell Festus that) >^ 
li f e a wai t u s not fnr nn a. y^ . 

I ' ^ 't» a p oor nhftRt^ R Htnpiil V^nnprttt, ^-J 

A wwl^hed fftjlure. ITforone, protest \ ^% '' 



Wen, oBwaid though alone! Small time re- 



They are ruins I Trust me who am one of you ! 
All ruins, glorious once, but lonely now. 
It makes my heart sick to behold you crouch 
Beside your desolate fane : the arches dim, 
The crumbling columns grand against the moon. 
Could I but rear them up onoe more — but that 
May never be, so leaVe them! Trust me, 

friends. 
Why should you linger here when I have built 
A far resplendent temple, all your ovm?^ 
Trust me, they are but ruins ! See, Aprile, 
Men will not heed ! Yet were I not prepitfed 
Witb better refuge for them, tongue of mine^ 
Should ne'er reveal how blank their dwelling is : 
I would sit down in silence with the rest. 

Ha, what ? you spit at me, you grin and shriek 
Contempt into my ear — my ear which drank 
God's accents once ? you curse me ? Why men, 

men, 
I am not formed for it ! ^ Those hideous e^es 
Will be before me sleeping, waking, praying. 
They will not let me even die. Spare, spare me, 
Sinning or no, forget that, only spare me 
llie horrible scorn ! You thought I could sup- 
port H. 
But now you see what silly fragile creature 
Cowers thus. I am not good nor bad enough. 
Not Christ nor Cain, yet even Cain was saved 
From Hate like this. Let me but totter back ! 
Perhaps I shall dxide those jeers which creep 
Into my very brain, and shut these scorchea 
Eyelids and keep those mocking faces out. 

. LjjSten, Aprile ! I am very calm : 
Be not deceived, there is no passion here 
Where the blooa leaps like an imprisoned thing : 
I am calm : I will exterminate tne race ! 
Enough of that : 't is said and it shall be. 
And now be merry : safe and sound am I 
Who broke through their best ranks to get at 

I V you. 

^ And such a havoc, such a rout, Aprile ! 
I Fest. Have you no thought, no memory for 

^* me. 



I 



Aureole ? I am so wretched — my pure Michal 
Is gone, and you alone are left me now, 
re. 1, lor one, protest • ^« ' u/^^-And even you forget me. Take my hand — 
hurl it back with 8com.^\\i/^ Lean on me thus. Do you not know me, Au- 

i/^'nUS) r^le? 

' J'or. Festus, my own friend, yon are come at 
iU^ last? 
And much to do : I must have fruit, must reap As yon say, 't is an awful enterprise : 
Some profit from my toils. I doubt mv body But you believe I shall go through wilh it : 

Will hardly serve me through ; while I have la- 'Tis like you, and I thiEuik you. Thank him 

bcRcd for me. 

It has decayed ; and now that I demand 
Its best assistance, it will crumble fast: 
A ad thought, a sad fate ! How very full 
Of wormwood 'tis, that just at altar-servioe, 
xhe rapt hymn rising with the rolling smoke, 
r da wiifl and all i s at t he " 
fire may flicBemid grow faint 
Aad die for want of a wood-piler's help ! 
O Misde e thyi flTimpi i iT h riLTi a>id the soul 
li puled downin tne overtnrow. Well, well — 
Mtmen catch every word, let them lose naught 
Of vhat I say ; something may yet be done. 



Dear Michal ! See how bright St. Saviour's spire 
Flames in the sunset * all its figures quaint 
Gay in the glancing ught : you might conceive 

them 
A troop of yellow-vested white-haired Jews ^ 
Bound for their own land where redemption 
dawns. 
Fest, Not that blest time — not our youth's 

time, dear Grod ! 
Par. Ha — stay ! true, I forget — all is done 
since. 
And he is come to judge me. How he speaks, 



44 



PARACELSUS 



Hov calm, hov well I yes, it is truoi all true ; 
All qnaokeiy ; all deceit ; myself can laugh 
The first at it, if you desire : bat still 
You know the obstacles which taught me tricks 
So foreign to my nature — envy and hate, 
Blind oppositioo, brutal prejudice. 
Bald ignorance — what wonder if 1 sunk 
To humor men the way they most approved ? 
m^My cheats were never palmed on such as you, 
^^i)ear Festus ! I will uieel if you require me, 
Impart the mes^^re knowledge I possess, 
Explain its bounded nature, and avow 
My^ insufficiency — whatever you will : 
I give the fight up : let there be an end, 
A privacy, an obscure nook for me. 
I want to be forgotten even by God. 
But if that cannot be. dear Festus, lay me. 
When I shall die, witnin some narrow grrave. 
Not by itself — for that would be too proud — 
' ^ But where such graves are thickest ; let it look 
\ Nowise distinguished from the hillocks round, 
'\So that the peasant at his brother^s bed 
May tread upon my own and know it not ; 
And we shall all be equal at the last. 
Or classed according to life's natural ranks, 
V Fathers, sons, brothers, friends — not rich, nor 

wise, 
Nor gifted : lay me thus, then say, ** He lived 
Too much advanced before his brother men ; 
They kept him still in front: 'twas for their 

good, 
But yet a dangerous station. It were strange 
That he should tell God he had never ranked 
With men : so, here at least he is a man." 
Fest. That God shall take thee to his breast, 

dear spirit. 
Unto his breast, be sure ! and here on earth 
Shall splendor sit upon thy name forever. 
Sun ! ail the heaven is glaa for thee : what care 
If lower mountains light their snowy phares 
At thine efhoilgenoe, yet acknowledge not 
The source of day ? Their theft smUl be their 

bale: 
For after^a^es shall retrack thy beams. 
And put aside the crowd of busy ones 
And worship thee alone — the master-mind. 
The thinker, the explorer, the creator ! 
Then, who should sneer at the convulsive throes 
With which thy deeds were bom, would scorn 

as well t 

The^ sheet of windin|r subterraneous fire 
Which, pent and writhing, sends no less at last 
Huge islands up amid the simmering sea. 
Behold thy might in me ! thou hast infused 
Th:r soul in mine ; and I am grand as thou. 
Seeing I comprehend thee — I so simple. 
Thou so aug^nst. I recognize thee first ; 
I saw thee rue, I watched thee early and late. 
And though no glance reveal thou dost accept 
My homage — thus no less I proffer it. 
And bid thee enter gloriously thy rest. 
Par. Festus 1 
. ^. Fest. I am for noble Aureole, Gk>d I 

I am upon his side, come weal or woe. 
His portion shall be mine. He has done well. 
I would have sinned, had I been strong enough, 
As he has sinned. Reward him or I waive 
Reward I If thou canst find no place for him. 



He shall be king elsewhere, and I will be 
His slave forever. There are two of us. 
Par. Dear Festus I 

Fest. Here, dear Aureole I ever by you ! 

Par. Nay, speak on, or I dream again. 
Speak on I 
Some story, anything — only your voice. 
I shall dream else, opeak on I ay, leaning so ! 
Fest, Thus the Mayne glideth 
Where my Love abideth. 
Sleep 's no softer : it proceeds 
On through lawns, on thiough meads. 
On and on, whatever befall. 
Meandering Mid musical, 
■ Though the niggard pasturage 
Bears not on its shaven ledge 
Aught but weeds and waving grassea 
To view the river as it passes, 
Save here and there a scanty patch 
Of primroses too faint to catch 
A weary bee. 
Par. More, more ; say on I 
Fest. And scarce it pushes 

Its gentle way through strangling rushes 
Where the glossy kingfisher 
Flutters when noon-heats are near. 
Glad the shelving banks to i^un, 
Red and steaming in the sun, 
Where the shrew-mouse with pale throat 
Burrows, and the speckled stoat ; 
Where the auick sandpipers flit 
In and out tne marl and grit 
That seems to breed them, brown as they : 
Naught disturlM its quiet waj. 
Save some lazy stork that springs. 
Trailing it with legs and vrinm. 
Whom the shy fox from the mil 
Rouses, creep he ne'er so still. 
Par. 'M.J heart ! they loose my heart, those 
simple words ; 
Its darkness passes, which naught else conid 

touch : 
Like some dark snake that force may not expel. 
Which glideth out to music sweet and low. 
What were you doing when your voice broke 

througn 
A chaos of uglv images ? Ton, indeed I 
Are you alone nere ? 

Fest. All alone : you know me ? 

Thiscell? 

Par. An unexceptionable vault : 

Good brick and o te ne ? the bats k^ptf'OUt, the 

rats 
Kept in : a snug nook : how should I mistake it f 
Fest. But wherefore am I here ? 
Par. Ah, well remembered I 

Why, for a puipose — for a purpose, Festus I 
'T is like me : here I trifle while time fleets. 
And this occasion, lost, will ne'er return. 
You are here to be instructed. I will tell 
God's message : but I have so much to say, 
I fear to leave naif out. All is confused^ 
No doubt ; but doubtless you will leam in time. 
He would not else have brought yon here : no 

doubt 
I shall see clearer soon. 

Fest. Tell me but this — 

You are not in despair ? 



*. 



^ 



PARACELSUS 



45 



Par, I? and for what? 

Fat, Alas, alas ! he knows not, as I feared I 
Par. What is it y ou we wld TOk tne" With that 



Dear searehinff &oe ? 

FesC. How feel you. Aureole ? 

Par. WeU : 

Well Tift a Strang thing: I am dyins:, Featas, 
And DOW that fast the storm of life saosides, 
I £bst pereeive how great the whirl has heen. 
I w cahn then, who am so dizzy now — 
Gafan in tibe thick of the tempest, but no less 
Ajartner of its motion and mixed up 
With its career. The hurricane is spent, 
And the good boat speeds through the brighten- 

n% weather ; 
Bat ii it earth or sea that heaves below ? 
Tlie gidf rolls like a meadow-swell, o^erstrewn 
Widi rsraged boughs and remnants of the shore ; 
And BOW some idet, loosened from the land, 
Svims past with all its trees, sailing to ocean ; 
Aad DOW the air is full of uptom canes, 
Ugkfc strippuKS from the fan-trees, tamarisks 
Uarooted, with their birds still clinging^ to them, 
All h^ in the wind. Even so my varied life 
IMfts by me ; I am young, old, happy, sad, 
Hongng, desponding, acting, taking rest, ^ 
Aad all at once : that is, those past conditions 
Float back at once on me. If 1 select ^ 
Same special epoch from the crowd, 't is but 
To will, and straight the rest dissolve away, 
And only that particular state is present 
With ail its long^forgotten circumstance 
Dirtinet and vivid as at first — myself 
Acardeaa looker-on and nothing more, 
Jadifferent and amused, but notmng more. 
And thb is death : I understand it all. 
Kew bong waits me ; new perceptions must 
B« bora in me before I plunge therein ; 
Whiek last is Death's anair ; and while I speak, 
IGaate hy niinute he is filling me 
With power ; and while my foot is on the thresh- 
old 
Of boandleas life — the doors unonened yet. 
All pcepatations not complete witnin — 
I tun new knowledge upon old events. 
And the effect is . . . but I must not tell ; 
It ia not lawfuL Tour own turn will come 
One day. Wait, Festus I Ton will die like me. 
Feat. Tis of that past life that I bum to 



Par, Ton wonder it engniges me just now ? 
: b tmth, I wonder too. What 's life to me ? 
' Wherever I look is fire, where'er I listen 
j Mane, and where I tend bliss evermore. 
Tet how can I refrain ? 'T is a refined 
Might to view those chances, — one last view. 
IsB 80 near the pefrils I escape, 
iWt I must plav with them and turn them over, 
Te feel how tulr^ the^ are past and g^ne. 
ttB, it is like, some further cause exists 
!■ this peeofiar mood — some hidden purpose ; 
nil not tell vou something of it, Festus ? 
Ihid it isaL, but it has somehow slipt 
Aaqr from me : it will return anon. 
f«<. (Indeed his cheek seems young again, 
his voice 
CoBfleie with its old tones: that Kttle laugh 



Concluding every phrase, with upturned eye. 
As though one stooped aoove his head to whom 
He looked for confirmation and approval, 
Where was it gone so long, so weQ preserved ? 
Then, the forefinger pointing as he speaks, 
Like one who traces m an open book 
The matter he declares ; 'tis many a vear 
Since I remarked it last : and this in nim, 
But now a ghastly wreck !) 

And can it be. 
Dear Aureole, you have then found out at last 
That worldly things are utter vanity ? 
That man is made for weakness, and should wait 
In patient ignorance, till God appoint . . . 

Par, Ha, the purpose : the true purpose : 
that is it ! 
How could I fail to apprehend I Ton here, 
I thus 1 But no more trifling : I see all, 
I know all : my last mission shall be done 
If strength suffice. No trifling I Stay; this 

posture 
Hardly befits one thus about to speak : 
I will arise. 

Fest. Nay, Aureole, are you wild ? 

You cannot leave your coucn. 

Par. No help ; no help ; 

Not even your hand. So I there, I stand once 

more! 
Speak from a couch ? I never lectured thus. 
My gown — the scarlet lined with fur ; now put 
The chain about my neck ; my signet-ring 
Is still upon my hand, I think — even so : 
Last, my eood sword ; ah, trusty Azoth, leapest 
Beneath thy master's grasp for the last time ? 
This couch shall be my throne : I bid these walls 
Be consecrate, this wretched cell become 
A shrine, for nere God speaks to men through 

me. 
Now, FestuS} I am ready to benn. 

Fest. I am dumb wiw wonaer. 

Par, Listen, therefore, Festus I 

There will be time enough, but none to spare. 
I must content myself with teUii^ only 
The most important points. You doubtless feel 
That I am happy, Festus ; very happy. 

Fest, 'T is no delusion which uplifts him thus I 
Then you are pardoned. Aureole, all your sin ? 

Par, Ay, pardoned : yet why pardoned ? 

Fest, 'Tu God's pnuse 

That man is bound to seek, and you . . . 

Par, Have lived ! 

We have to live alone to set forth well 
Gtxl's praise. 'Tis true, I sinned much, as I 

thought, 
And in effect need mercy, for I strove 
To do that very thing ; but, do your best 
Or worst, praise rises, and will rise forever. 
Pardon from him, because of praise denied — 
Who calls me to himself to exalt himself ? 
He might laugh as I laugh I 

Fest. But all comes 

To the same thing. 'Tis fruitless for man- 
kind 
To fret themselves with what concerns them not; 
They are no use that way : they should lie down 
Content as God has made them, nor go mad 
In thriveless cares to better what is ill. 

Par, No, no ; mistake me not ; let me not work 



46 



PARACELSUS 



More hann than I have worked ! This is my 



case 



•\ 



X 



\ 






V 



N 



N. 



\ 



r 



If I go joyous baok to God, yet bring 
No offering, if I render np nry soul 
Without the fruits it was ordained to bear. 
If I appear the better to love God 
For sin, as one who has no claim on him, 
Be not deeeiyed I ^ It may^ be surely thus 
With me, while higher prizes still await 
The mortal persevering to the end. 
Beside I am not all so yalueless : 
I have been sometitiing, though too soon I left 
'FoUowingthe instincts of that happy time. 

Fe8t. What happy time ? For God's sake, 
for man's sake. 
What time was happy ? All I hope to know 
'That answer will decide. Wbat h ^ppy tui»« ? 

Par. W hen but the time^tTCwedmyself to 
^ man? 

' Fett. Great God, thy judgments are insoruta- 
ble! 

Par. Yes, it was in me ; I WBiLbnm for j t — 
I, Paracelsus : it was mine by right. 
Doubtless a searching and impetuous soul 
Might learn from its own motions that some task 
Like this awaited it about the world ; 
Might seek somewhere in this blank fife of ours 
For fit deUghts to stay its longing yast ; 
And, grapplii^ Nature, so prevail on her 
To ml the creature full she dared thus frame 
Humpry for joy ; and. bravely tyrannous. 
Grow in dem'alidj still craving more and more. 
And make each joy conceded prove a pledge 
Of other joy to follow — bating naught 
Of its desires, still seizing fresh pretence 
To turn the knowledge and the rapture wrung 
As an exti^me, last boon, from destiny. 
Into ocGBsion fgnDflw mv^tinEW, 
I^ew strifes^ naw triumphs • — doubtlofls a strong 

soul, .; ' V < c • . ^ <, ^J ^MU. 



Alone, unaided mig^'attun to this, 
So glorious is our nature, so august 



U' 



Proceeds ; in whom is life forevermore, r ( 
Yet whom existence in its lowest form Q^ 
Includes; wh e:ye dwel ls eniovment ^ fnm in ht { 
With still a flying pwnt of oliss remote, 
A happiness in store afar, a sphere^ 
Of distant glory in full view ; thus climb s a ft 
Pleasure its heights forever and foreve r, j^r^ 
The centre-fire neaves underneath the earth Jvin^ 
And the earth changes like a human face ; I 
The molten ore bursts up among the rocks. 
Winds into the stone's heart, outbranches bright 
In hidden mines, spots barren river-beds. 
Grumbles into fine sand where sunbeams bask — 
God joys therein. The wroth sea's waves are 

edged 
With foam, white as the bitten lip of hate. 
When, in uie soUtary waste, strange groups 
Of young volcanos come up, cydope-lDce, 
Staring together with their eyes on fiame — 
God tast«i a pleasure in their uncouth pride. 
Then all is still ; earth is a wintry clod : 
But spring-wind, like a dancing psaltress^ paaees 
Over its breast to waken it. rare verdure 
Buds tenderly upon rough oanks, between 
The withered tree-roots and the cracks of frost, 
Like a smile striving with a wrinkled face ; 
The grass grows bright, the boughs are swoln 

with blooms 
Like chrysaUds impatient for the air. 
The shimng dorrs are busy, beetles run 
Along the furrows, ants noake their ado : 
Above, birds fiy in merry flocks, the lark 
Soars up and up, shivering for very joy ; 
Afar the ocean sleeps ^ white fishing^^uus 
FUt where the strand is purple with its tribe 
Of nested limpets : savage creatures seek 
Tlieir loves in wood andplain — and^^^xmssg 
raptur e. Tnus he dwenrtnOI^^ 
e's mmute beginnings, up at last 
To man — the consummation of this scheme 
^^^Of being, the completion of this sphere 

Of life : whose attributes had here and there 



do gionous IS our nature, so august ^ >< ^' ^ lUt lite : wnose attributes nad nere and tnere 

Man's inborn uninstructed impulses, ^^, ^ /,^' ^pfieen scattered o'er the visible world before, 

f His naked spirit so majestiiOsl ! »,«' ' '^^*-'T*^"^T!g tip J^ ftnmhinftd, dim fw^gmanim mmm*: 

V ^ But this was bom in me : I was made so : To be umted in flozilfi woadmus wholfi. 



But this was Ixnn in me ; I was made so ; 
Thus much time saved : the f everidii appetites, 
The tumult of unproved desire, the unaimed 
Uncertain yearnings, aspirations bUnd, 
Distrust, mistake, and all that ends in tears 
Were saved me ; thus I entered on my course. 
You may be sure I was not all exempt 
From human trouble ; just so much of doubt 
As bade me plant a surer foot u])on 
The sun-roaa, kept my eye unmined 'mid 
The fierce and flashing splendor, set my heart 
Trembling so much as warned me I stood there 
On sufferance — not to idly gaze, but cast 
Light OB a darkling race ; save tor that doubt, 
I stood at first where all aspire at last 
To stand : the secret of the world was mine. 
I knew, I felt, (perception unexpressed, 
Uncomprehended by our narrow thought^ 
But somehow felt and known in every shift 
And change in the spirit, — nay, in every pore 
Of the body, even,) — what God is^ what we are, 
What life IS — b.Qw .Qod tjistes-aaunfiiiitsjoy 
In. infinite ways — one everlasting bliss, 
From whom cul being emanates, all power 



To be umtedin flQZnfi woadmus FhflljB* 
Imperfect qualities tiironghout creation. 
Suggesting some one creature yet to make. 
Some point where all those scattered rays should 

meet 
GoavsEg&iitJiLthfiJaculties of man. 
Powg r — neither put forCH blindly, nor oon- 

trolled 
Calmly by perfect knowledge ; to be used 
At risk, inspired or checked by hope and fear : 
ICnowledge —not intuition, but the slow- 
Uncertain fruit of an enhzmcing toil. 
Strengthened by love : love —not serenely pare 
But strong from weakness, like a ohanoe-soin 

plant 
Which, cast on stubborn soil, puts forth dungei 

buds 
And softer stains, unknown in happier dimeB ; 
Love which endures and doubts ana is oppreaaoi 
And cherished, suffering much and mueh sih 

tained, 
And blind, oft-failing, yet beUeving love, 
A half-enhghtened, oiten-oheckered troatT — 
Hints and previsions of which faculties. 



•^ 



J 



N 



PARACELSUS 



47 



Aie strewn confiisedly erervwhere about 
Hie inferior natures, and all lead np highery 
All shape ont dimly tihe superior race, 
The heir of hopes too fair to turn out false, 
And num appears at last. So far the seal 
la pat on lite ; one stance of heing complete, 
One aeheme wound up : and m>m the grand 

I result 

A supplementary reflux of light, 
Hhistrates all the inferior grades, explains 

I Each back step in the circle. Not alone 
For their poaseasor dawn those qualities. 
Bat the new glory mixes with the heaven 
And earth ; man, onoe descried, imprints forever 
His nreaenoe on all lifeless things : the winds 
Are Aoiceforth voices, wailing or a shout, 
A qneralous mutter or a quick gay laugh, 
N^Ter a aenseleas gust now man is bom. 
Hie herded pines commune and have deep 

thoughts, 
A secret they assemble to discuss 

! When the sun drops behind their trunks which 
glaze 
Like grates of hell : the peerless cup afloat 
0! the lake-lily is an urn, some nymph 
Svims bearing high above her head : no bird 

'i Whistles unseen, out through the gaps above 
That let light in upon the gloomv woods, 
A shape peeps from the breezy lorest-top, 
Areh with small puckered mouth and mocking 

eye. 
Tbe mom has enterprise, deep quiet droops 
With evening, triumph takes the sunset hour, 
Youiiitaons transport ripens with the com 
Bwwiitth a warm moon uke a happy face s 
-And this to 611 us with regard for man, 
Widi apprehension of his passing worth, 
IMreto work his proper nature out,* - •- 
And ascertain his rank and final place. 
For these things tend still upward, progress is 

Sor £3i I deem his object served, ms end 

Attained, his genuine s^ngth put fairly forth, 

While only here and there a star dispels 

The darknen, here and th^re a towering mind 

O'eriooka its prostrate fellows : when the host 

Is out at onee to the despair of night. 

When all mankind alike is perfected, 

Equal in fuU-Uown powers — then, not till then, 

I say, be^ns man^s general infancy. 

For whoefore make account of feverish starts 

^restless members of a dormant whole, 

nnpallent nerves which quiver while the body 

Snnbers as in a grave ? Oh, long ago 

ne brow was twitched, the tremulous lids 




fkt peaceful mouth disturbed ; half uttered 



the Hp, and then the teeth were set, 
fareath drawn sharp, the strong right-hand 
deDehed stronger, 
,' iiH would pluck a Hon by the iaw ; 
«« ^orioas ereature laughea out even in 
^^ aieepl 

2^^heu full roused, each giant-limb awake, 
Uk ainew strung, the great heart pulsing fast, 
jwAall rtart up and stand on his own eurth, 
lasB duJl his loag triumphant march begin, 



Thence shall his being date, — thus wholly 

rousedj 
What he achieves shall be set down to him. 
When all the race is perfected alike 
As man, that is ; all tended to mankind, 
And^ man produced, all has its end thus far : 
But m completed man begins anew 
A tendency to God. Pro^ostics told 
Man's near approach ; so in man's self arise 
August anticipations, symbols, types 
Of a dim splendor ever on before r t^ "^ 

In that eternal circle life pursues. - "^^^ ^"^^ 
For men begin to pass their nature's bound. 
And find new hopes and cares which fast sup- 
plant 
Th dr prop ft^- j^y«| g**^ g**afa. t hey gro w too 

For narrow creeds of right and wrong, which 

fade — - 

Before the unmeagasfisLthiiBt. ioE good : while 

peace 
Rises within them ever more and more. 
Such men are even now upon the earth, 
Serene amid the half-formed creatures round 
Who should be saved by them and joined with 

them. 
Such was my^ task, and I was bom to it — 
Free, as I said but now, from much that chains 
Spirits, high-dowered but limited and vexed 
By a divided and delusive aim, 
A shadow mocking a reality 
Whose truth avuls not wholly to disperse 
The flitting mimic called up by itseli. 
And so remains perplexed and nigh put out 
By its fantastic fellow's wavering gleam. 
I, from the first, was never cheated thus ; 
I never fashioned out a fancied good 
Distinct from man's ; a service to be done, 
A ^lory to be ministored unto 
With powers put forth at man's exiMuse, with- 
drawn 
From laboring in his behalf ; a strength 
Denied that might avail him. I cared not 
Lest his success ran counter to success 
Elsewhere: for tTnd in glnrifind in man. 
And to map^M^g^aa xosumLJL aonl and limb. 
Tet; Gonstitntfid. thus* and thus i iii l ii i n l ^ 
1 failed : igazed on power till I grew blind. 
Power ; I could not take my eyes from that : ^ 
That only, I Uiought, should be preserved, in- 
creased 
At any risk, displayed, struck out at once r— 
The sign and note and character of man. 
I saw no use^ in the past : only a scene 
Of degradation, uglmess and tears. 
The record of disgraces best foniotten, 
A sullen page in human chronicks 
fit to erase. I saw no cause why man 
Should not stand all-su£Bcient even now. 
Or why his annals should be forced to tell 
That once the tide of light, about to break 
Upon the world, was sealed within its spring : 
I would have had one day, one moment s space, 
Change man's condition, push each slumbering 

claim 
Of mastery o'er the elemental world 
At once to full maturity, then roll 
Oblivion o'er the work, and hide from man 



4S 



PARACELSUS 



What nieht had ushered mom. Not so, dear 

chud 
Of aftei^days, wilt Uiou reject the past 
Big with deep warnings of the proper tenure 
By which thoo hast the earth : for thee the 

present 
Shall have distinct amLtrembliiig: heanty^seen 
Beside~1iilR~pa8t^s own s hade when ,ln"reKf, 
Its brigEBiWU shull sUuid OUl i nor yet dnwee 
Shall biusl Lhe^fntore, as snocessiye zones 
Of several wonder open on some spirit 
Flyinfi: secure and glad from heayen to heayen : 
But thou shalt painfully attain to joy, 
While hqpe and fear and love shall j^efip. thee 

jgalii 

All this was hid from me : as one by one 

My dreams grew dim, my wide amis ciroum- 

scribeo. 
As actual good within my reach decreased, 
While obstacles sprung up this way and that 
To keep me from effecting half the sum. 
Small as it proved ; as objects, mean within 
The primal aggregate, seemed, even the least, 
Itselr a match for my concentred strength — 
What wonder if I saw no wav to shun 
Despair ? The power 1 sought for man, seemed 

^ God^s. 
In this conjuncture, as I prayed to die, 
A strange adventure made me know, one sin 
Had spotted my career from its uprise ; 
I saw Aprile — my Aprile there I 
And as the poor melodious wretch disburdened 
His heart, and moaned his weakness in my ear, 
I I garned mx fiS3uleep error ; lovers undomg 
Taught me the worth of love in miiA^s.estAbB; 
And what proportion love should liold with 

power 
In his right constitution ; love preceding 
Power, and with much power, always much 

more love ; 
Love still too straitened in his present means. 
And earnest for new power to set love free. 
I learned this, and supposed die whole was 

learned: 
And thus, when men received with stupid won- 
der 
My first revealings, would have worshipped me. 
And I despised and loathed their proffered 

praise — 



doubts ; 



When, with awakened eyes, they took revenge 

For past credulity in casting shame 

On my real knowledge, anal hated them — 

It was not strange I saw no good in man, 

To overbalance aU the wear and waste 

Of faculties, displayed in vain, but bom 

To prosper in some better sphere : and why ? 

Ii uny o yfV bft«.rf, loxfi had not b een naade wise 

To triace love's faint beginnings m mankincTj 

To know even hate is but a mask of love's. 

To see a good in evU, and a hope 

In ill-success ; to sympathize, be proud 

Of their half-reasons, faint aspirings, dim 

Stru^les for truth, their poorest fallacies. 

Their prejudice and fears and cares and doi 

All with a touch of nobleness, despite 

Their error, upward tending all though weak. 

Like plants in mines which never saw the son. 

But oreun of him, and guess where he may 

be. 
And do their best to climb and get to him. 
AU this I knew not, and I failed. Let men 
Regard me, and the poet dead long ago 
Who loved too rashly ; and shape forth a third 
And better-tempered spirit, warned by both : 
As from the over-radiant star too maa 
To drink the life-springs, beamleas thenoe it- 
self— 
And the dark orb which borders the abyss. 
Ingulfed in icy night, — might have its course, 
A temperate and equidistant world. 
Meanwhile, I have done well, though not all 

well. 
As yet men cannot do without contempt ; 
'T is for their good, and therefore fit awhile 
That they reject the weak, and scorn the false, 
liather than praise the strong and true, in me : 
But after, they will know me. If I stoop 
Into a dark tremendous sea of cloud. 
It is but for a time ; I press God's lamp 
Close to my breast ; itrsptendor, soon or late. 
Will pierce the gloom : I shall emerge one day. 
Yon tmderstand me ? I have said enoug^fa ! 
F^, Now die, dear Aureole ! 
Par, ^ ^ Festus, let my hand — 

This handle in your own, my own true friend ! 
Aprile I Hand in hand with you, Aprile ! 

Fest, And this was Paracelsus I 



1 



STRAFFORD 



49 



STRAFFORD 
A TRAGEDY 

DEDICATED, IN ALL AFFECTIONATE ADMIRATION, 

TO 

WILLIAM C. MACREADY 
London, April 23, 1837 



ParacdsuM f oimd an enthusiaBtio reader in 
the aetor Macready, who beggfed Browmng to 
write him a play, even suggesting the snbjeot 
(0 him, which did not awaken the poet's 
iotetest. More than a year passed, when the 
two met at a supper given by Maoready after 
the sneeeBsfiil jxresentation of Talfonrd's Ion. 
Ai the guests were leaving, Macready said to 
Browning: "Write a play, Browning, and 
keep me from going to America.'* ** Shall it be 
tistoriesl and English ? " replied Browning. 
'* What do yon say to a drama on Strafford ? " 
and the poet now had his subject. His choice 
II readily explained by the fact that he was at 
thk time helping his friend John Forster with 
his life of Strafford contained in Lives of Etni- 
aeaC Britisk Statesmen. Ladeed, Mr. Fumivall 
ays without hesitation that the agreement of 
the Strafford of the play with the Strafford of 
Fluster's biography is due to the fact that 
fimwoiiig wrote the whole of the Life of Straf - 
fold after the first seven paragraphs. 

When the play was rehearsing Browning 
gave Macready a lilt which he had composed 
for the children's song: in Act V. It was not 
cause the two children who were to 
wished a more pretentious song. The lilt 
BrowninsT composed was purposely no 
iBflie than a crooiitfi{jr measure. He afterward 
gsre it to Miss Hiekey for her special edition 
cf Stafford, and it is reproduced here in its 
phce. Hie following is Browning's preface to 
the fiat edition :— 

^I had for some time been engaged in a 
Poem of a very different nature, when induced 

PERSONS 



of 
iMdBAvniB. 
ArRnEBY Yanx. 

Yifloooiit WmrwoBTH, Earl of Stbav- 



PlM. 



Yavb. 

HOUB. 



Usher €f(he Slaek Mod. 



to make the present attempt; and am not 
without apprehension that my eagerness to 
freshen a jaded miml by diverting it to the 
healthy natures of a grand ejioch, may have 
operated unfavorably on the represented play, 
which is one of Action in Character, rather 
than Character in Action. To remedy this, in 
some degree, considerable curtailment wiU be 
necessary, and, in a few instances, the supply- 
ing details not required, I suppose, by the 
mere reader. While a trifling success would 
much gratify, failure will not wholly discour- 
age me from another effort : experience is to 
come ; and earnest endeavor may yet remove 
many disadvantages. 

"The portraits are, I think, faithful; and 
I am exceedingly fortunate in being able, 
in proof of this, to refer to the subtle and 
eloquent exposition of the characters of Eliot 
and Strafford, in the Lives qf Eminent British 
Statesmen, now in the course of publication in 
Lardner's Cyclopedia, by a writer [John Fors- 
ter] whom I am proud to call my friend ; and 
whose biographies of Hampden, Pym, and 
Vane, will, I am sure, fitly illustrate the pres- 
ent year — the Second Centenary of the Trial 
concerning Ship-Money. My Carlisle, however, 
is purely imaginary: I at first sketched her 
singular likeness roughly in, as suggested by 
Matthews and the memoir* writers — but it was 
too artificial, and the substituted outiine is ex- 
clusively from Voiture and Waller. 

**The Italian boat-song in the last scene is 
from Redi's *' Bacoo,' long since naturalized in 
the joyous and delicate version of Leigh Hunt." 



Baltous, Cotulable of the Tower. 

A POBITAN. 

Qneen Henbibtta. 

LuoT Pbbct, Countess of CarlMe. 

PreebyteriaiiB, Scots CommisBioners, Adherents of 

Strafford, Secreteries, OfBoen of the Court, etc. 
Two of Strafford's GfULDBSv. 



ACT I 

Sasmi I. A Bouse near Whitehall. HAKPDBir, Hould, 
the yoanger Yahb, Rudtasd, Fmnrw and many of 
the Presbyterian Party: Loudoh and other Scots 
Commissioners. 



so 



STRAFFORD 



Vane. I aay, if he be here -— 
Budpctrd, (And he is here !) — 

HoUis. For Rnglftnd^B sake let every man be 
stiU 
Nor roeak of him, so mnch as say his name, 
Till Pym rejoin us I Rndyard I Henry Vane ! 
One rash conclusion may decide our course 
And with it England's fate — think — England's 

fate! 
Hampden, for England's sake they should be 
stilll 
Vane. Ton say so, HoUis ? Well, I must be 
still. 
It is indeed too bitter that one man. 
Any one man's mere presence, should suspend 
England's combined endeavor : Uttle need 
To name him I 
Rud. For yon are his brother. HoUis ! 

Hampden, Shame on yon, Rudyard ! time to 
tell him that 
When he forgets the Mother of us all. 
Rud. Do I forget her? 
Hamp. Tou talk idle hate 

Against her foe : is that so strange a thing ? 
Is hating WentWorth all the help she needs ? 
A Puritan. The Philistine slarode, cursing as 
he went : 
But David — five smooth pebbles from the brook 
Within his scrip . . . 
Rud. Be you as still as David ! 

Fiennes. Here 's Rudyard not ashamed to 
wag a tongue 
Stiff witii ten years' disuse of Parliaments : 
Wliy, when the last sat, Wentworth sat with us I 
Rud. Let 's hope for news of them now he 
returns — 
He that was safe in Ireland, as we thought I 

— But I '11 abide Pym's coming. 

Vane. Now, by Heaven, 

Then may be cool who can, silent who will — 
Some have a gift that way ! Wentworth is here, 
Here, and the King 's safe closeted with him 
Ere this. And when I think on all that 's past 
Since that man left us, how lus single arm 
Rolled the advancing good of England back 
And set the woeful pait up in its place. 
Exalting Dagon where the Ark should be, — 
How that man has made firm the fickle King 
(Hampden, I will speak out I) — in aught lie 

feared 
To venture on before ; taught tyranny 
Her dismal trade, the use of all her tools. 
To ply the scourge yet screw the gag so dose 
That strangled aeony bleeds mute to death — 
How he turns Ireland to a private stage 
For tzaining infant viUanies, new wavs 
Of wringing treasure out of tears ana blood. 
Unheard oppressions nourished in the dark 
To trv how much man's nature can endure 

— If he dies under it, what harm ? if not. 
Why, one more trick is added to the rest 
Worth a king's knowing, and what Ireland bears 
England may learn to bear : — how all this while 
That man has set himself to one dear task. 
The bringing Charles to relish more and more 
Power, power without law, power and blood too 

— Can I be still? 

Hamp. For that you should be still. 



Vane. Oh Hampden, then and now! The 
year he left us. 
The People in full Parliament could wrest 
The Bill of Rights from the reluctant King: ; 
And now, he '11 find in an obscure small room 
A stealthy gathering of great-hearted men 
That take up England's cause : England is here ! 
Hamp. And who despairs of Imgland ? 
Rud. That do I, 

If Wentworth comes to rule her. I am sick 
To think her wretched masters, Hamilton, 
The muckworm Cottington, the maniac Laiid, 
May vet be longed-for back again. I say, 
I do dei^Mur. 

Vane. And, Rudyard, I '11 say this — 

Which all true men say after me, not loud 
But solemnly and as you 'd say a prayer I 
This King, who treadiB our England underfoot. 
Has just so much ... it may be fear or craft. 
As bids him pause at eadi fresh outiage; 

friends. 
He needs some sterner hand to^ gm^ his own. 
Some voice to ask, ** Why shrink ? Am I not 

by?" 
Now, one whom England loved for servinip her. 
Found in his heart to say, ^^ I know where best 
The iron heel shall bruise her, for she leans 
Upon me when vou trample.' Witness, yon ! 
So Wentworth neartenea Charles, so Kt>pla^»il 

feU. 
But inasmuch as life is hard to take 
From England . . . 
Many Voices. Oo on, Vane I 'T is well said. 

Vane! 
Vane. Who has not so forgotten Rnnny- 

mede! — 
Voices. 'T is well and bravely spoken. Vane I 

Goon! 
Vane. There are some little signs of late ahe 
knows 
The ground no place for her. She glances lonnd, 
Wentworth has dropped the hand, is gone his 

way 
On other service : what if she arise ? 
No ! the King beckons, and beside him stands 
The same bad man once more, with the same 

smile 
And the same gesture. Now shall Englaiid 

crouch. 
Or catch at us and rise ? 

Voices. The Renegade ! 

Haman! Ahithophell 

Hamp. Gentlemen of the Nartli, 

It was not thus the night your claims were nz^ped. 
And we pronounced the League and GoTenant, 
The cause of Scotland} England's cause as well : 
Vane there, sat motionless the whole nig^t 
through. 
Vane. Hampden ! 
Fien. Stay, Vane ! 

Loudon. Be just and patient. Vane I 

Vane. Mind how yon counsel patience. Loo- 
don! you 
Have still a Parliament, and this your League 
To back it ; you are free in Scotland still : 
WhUe we are brothers, hope 's for Rnglaw^^ yet;. 
But know you whereiore Wentworth comes ^ 
to quench 



STRAFFORD 



51 



TlinlastofliopeB? that he brings war with him? 
Know yon the man's self ? what he dares ? 

Lm. We know, 

AH know — 'tis nothing new. 

Vatte, And what 's new, then, 

In esUing f or his lif e ? Wiry, Pym himself — 
Ton must have heard — ere Wentworth dropped 

oar cause 
He voold see Pym first ; there were mairr more 
Strong on the people's side and friends of his, 
Qiot that 's dead, Rndyard and Hampden here. 
Bat for these Wentworth cared not ; only, IVni 
He would see — Pym and he were sworn, 'tis 

said. 
To fire ana die together ; so, they met 
At Greenwieh. Wentworth, yon are sure, was 

kmg, 
Speekms enough, the devil's argoment 
Uat nothing on his lips ; he 'd naTO Pym own 
A pstriot could not pia v a purer part 
Tban follow in his track ; they two combined 
Mi^t ^t down England. Well, Pym heard 

him out; 
Oat stance — yon know Pym's eye — one word 

was all: 
**T(Ni leaTe us, Wentworth ! while your head 

is on, 
I H not leave yon." 

Hamp. Has he left Wentworth, then ? 

Has Engknd lost him? WiU you let him speak. 
Or pat your crude surmises in his mouth ? 
Avay with this I WiU you have Pym or Vane ? 

Foieef. Wait Yjin!s arrival 1 Pym shall speak. 

Hamp. Meanwhile 

Let Loodon read the Pariiament's report 
From Edinbuxgh : our last hope, as V ane says, 
]■ in the stand it makes. Loudon I 

Yane. No, no I 

SQentlcanbe: not indifferent ! 

Basip. Hien each keep silence, praying God 
to spare 
ffia aneer, cast not England quite away 
Li tlds ker visitation I 

A Pwitan, Seven years long 

Tbtt Ifidianite drove Israel into dens 
Aad eaves. TiU God sent forth a mighty man, 

{Vy]i enters,) 
ErenGSdeon! 

Ppm. Wentworth 's come : nor sickness, care. 
The ravaged body nor the ruined soul, 
Hoie than the wmds and waves that beat his 

ahqs 
Could keep him from the King. He has not 

ff^achoo. 
Whitehall: they 've hurried up a Ck>uncil there 
To lose iM> time and find him work enough. 
Wkere's London? your Scots' Parliament . . . 
Lim. Holds firm: 

We were about to read reports. 
- Pvm- The King 

, Bm just dissolved your Parliament. 

Ian. and other ScoU, Great God I 

; is oadk-breaker 1 Stand by us, England, then I 
ffm. The King's too sanguine; doubtless 
Wentworth 's here ; 
MstlQ some little form might be kept up. 
•Baaip. Now speak. Vane I Rudyara, you 
had nraeh to say ! 



Hoi, The rumor 's false, then . . . 

Pym, Av, the Court gives out 

His own concerns have brought him back: I 

know 
'T is the King calls him. Wentworth supersedes 
The tribe of Cottingtons and Hamiltons 
Whose part is played ; there 's talk enough, by 

Merciful talk, the King thinks : time is now 
To turn the record's last and bloody leaf 
Which, chronicling a nation's great despair. 
Tells they were long rebellious, and their lord 
Indulgent, till, all kind expedients tried. 
He drew the sword on tnem and reigned in 

peace. 
Laud's laying his religion on the Scots 
Was the last gentle entrv : die new page 
ShaU run, the King thinks, ** Wentworth thrust 

it down 
At the sword's point." 

A Puritan. I 'U do your bidding, Pym, 

England's and Gkxi's — one blow I 

Pym. A goodly thing — 

We all say, friends, it is a goodly thing 
To right that England. Heaven grows dark 

above: 
Let 's snatch one moment ere the thunder fall, 
To say how weU the English spirit comes out 
Beneath it I All have done their best, indeed, 
From lion Eliot, that grand Englishman, 
To the least here : and who, the least one here. 
When she is saved (for her redemption dawns 
Dimlv, most dimly, but it dawns — it dawns) 
Who 'd give at anv price his hope awav 
Of being named along with the Great Men ? 
We womd not — no, we would not give that up I 
Hamp. And one name shall be dearer than all 

names. 
When children, yet unborn, are taught that 

name 
After their fathers', — taught what matchless 

man . . . 
Pym. . . . Saved England? Whatif Went- 

worth's should be still 
That name? 
Bud. and others. We have just said it, Pym I 

His death 
Saves her! We said it — there's no way be- 
side! 
I'll do God's bidding, Pym! They struck 

down Joab 
And purged the land. 

Vane, No villanous stiiking-down ! 

Bud, No, a calm vengeance: let the whole 

land rise 
And shout for it. No Feltons I 

Pym, Rndyard, no I 

Ei^Iand rejects all Feltons ; most of all 
Since Wentworth . . . Hampden, say the trust 

again 
Of Ei^hmd in her servants — but I '11 think 
You know me, all of you . Then, I believe. 
Spite of the past, Wentworth rejoins you, 

friends! 
Vane and others. Wentworth? Apostate! 

Judas! Double-djed 
A traitor ! Is it Pym, mdeed . . . 
Pym. . . . Who says 



1 



52 



STRAFFORD 



Vane never knew that Wentworth, loved that 

man. 
Was used to stroll with him, arm looked in arm, 
Alone the streets to see the people pass, 
And read in eveij isbmd-oonntenanoe 
Fresh argfoment for God against the King, — 
Never sat down, say, in the very honse 
Where £liot*B brow grew broad with noble 

thon^hts, 
(Yon 've iomed ns, Hampden — HoUis, yon as 

well,/ 
And then left talking over Graochns's death . ^ . 
Vane. To frame, we know it well, the choi- 
cest olanse 
In the Petition of Right : he framed snch clanse 
One month before he took at the Kii^^s hand 
His Northern Presidency, which that Sill 
Denounced. 

Pvm. Too true I Never more, never more 
Walked we together ! Most alone I went. 
I have had friends — all here are fast my 

friends — 
Bnt I shall never quite forget that friend. 
And yet it conld not bnt be real in him I 
Ton, Vane, — you, Rudyard, have no right to 

trust 
To Wentworth : but can no one hope with me ? 
Hampden, will Wentworth dare sned English 

blood 
like water ? 
Hamp, Ireland is Aceldama. 

Pym, Will he turn Scotland to a hunting- 
ground 
To please the King, now that he knows the 

King? 
Hie People or the King? and that King, 

Chariest 
Hamp. Pym, aU here know you : yon '11 not 

set your heart 
On any baseless dream. But say one deed 
Of Wentworth's, since he left us . . . [Shouting 

without. 
Vane, There ! he comes. 

And they shout for him! Wentworth's at 

Whitehall, 
The King embracing him, now, as we speak, 
And he, to be his match in conrtesieB, 
Taking the whole war's risk upon himself. 
Now, while you tell us here how changed he is I 
Hear you ? 

Pym. And yet if 't is a dream, no more, 
That Wentworth chose their side, and brought 

the Kiiu: 
To love it as though Laud had loved it first. 
And the Queen after ; that he led their cause 
Calm to success, and kept it spotless through, 
^:^o that our very eyes could look upon 
The travail of our souls, and close content 
That violence, which something mars even right 
Which sanctions it, had taken off no grace 
From its serene regard. Only a dream ! 
Hamp, We meet here to accompUsh certain 

good 
Bv obvious means, and keep tradition up 
Of free assemblages, else obsolete. 
In this poor chamber : nor without effect 
Has friend met friend to counsel and confirm. 
As, listening to the beats of England's heart. 



We spoke its wants to Scotland's prompt reply 

Bv these her delegates. Remains alone 

That word grow deed, as with God's help it 

shall — 
Bnt with the devil's hindrance, who doubts too ? 
Looked we or no that tyranny should turn 
Her engines of oppression to uieir use ? 
Whereof, suppose the worst be Wentworth 

hero — 
Shall we break off the tactics which succeed 
In drawing^ out our f ormidablest foe. 
Let bickering and disunion tiAe their plaoe ? 
Or count his presence as our conquest's proof. 
And keep the old arms at their steady play ? 
Proceed to England's work 1 Fiennes, read, the 

list! 
Fien. ^ Ship-money is refused or fiercely 

paid 
In every county, save the northern parts 
Whero Wentworth's influence . . . [Showiing. 
Vane. I, in England's name. 

Declare her work, this dav, at end I Till now. 
Up to this moment, peaceful strife was beat. 
We English had free leave to think ; till now. 
We haa a shadow of a Parliament 
In Scotland. But all 's changed : they change 

the first. 
They try brute-force for law, they, first of 

aQ. . . 
Voices. Good I Talk enough I Hie old true 

hearts with Vane I 
Vane. Till we crush Wentworth for her, 

there 's no act 
Serves England I 

Voices. Vane for England 1 

Pym. Pym should be 

Somethii^ to England. I seek Wentwortfa, 

fri^ids. 

Bom IL WMiehaU. 
Lftdy C ABLOLB and Wsntwobxb. 

WenttDorth. And the King ? 

Lady Carlisle. Wentworth, lean on me ! 
Sit then I 
I 'U tell you all ; this horrible fatigue 
Will kill you. 

Went. No : — or, Lucy, just your ann ; 
I 'U not sit till I 've dearea this up with him : 
After that, rest. The King? 

Lady Car, Confides in yoiL. 

Went. Why? or, why now? — They have 
kind throats, the knaves ! 
Shout for me — they I 

Lady Car. Yon come so strangely soon : 
Tet we took measures to keep off the crowd — 
Did they shout for you ? 

Went. Wherefore should they not T 

Does the King take such measures for himself T 
Beside, there^s such a dearth of malcontents* 
You say ! 

Lady Car, I said but few dared carp at jroa« 

Went. At me ? at us, I hope I llie Kh^ 
and II 
He 's surely not disposed to let me bear 
The fame awav from him of these late deeds 
In Ireland ? I am vet his instrument 
Be it for well or ill ? He trusts me, too I 




STRAFFORD 



53 



Lady Car, The King, dear Wentworth, pnr- 
poses, I said, 
T»Bnuit yoa, in the £ace of all the Court . . . 

Iren/. All the Court I Eyermore the Court 
about us ! 
Savik and Holland, Hamilton and Vane 
About us, — then the King will grant me — 

vhat? 
Tbat he for once nut these aside and say — 
** TeD me your wnole mind, Wentworth I ^' 

Lady Car, You professed 

Ton would be calm. 

Went, Lucy, and I am calm I 

Hcnr else shall I do all I come to do, 
Broken, as you may see, body and mind, 
Hov shall I serve the Ki^? Time wastes mean- 
while. 
Too hare not told me half. His footstep ! No, 
^ck, then, before I meet him, — I am calm — 
Why does the King distrust me ? 

Lady Car. He does not 

Dlstrast yon. 

Went. Lucy, yon can help me ; you 

Hare eren seemed to care f or^e : one word I 
Is it the Queen? 

Lady Car. No, not the Queen : the party 
lluit noisons the Queen^s ear, SayUe and Uol- 

Went. I know, I know : old Vane, too, he 's 
one too? 
Go on — and he *s made Secretary. Well ? 
Or lesTe them out and go straight to the chaxge ; 
The charge! 
Lady Car. Oh, there 's no charge, no precise 
charge ; 
(klj they sneer, make light of — one may say, 
KQmle at what you do. 

Went. I know I but, Lucy, 

I redconedaon yon from the first I — Gb on ! 
— Was sure could I once see this gentle friend 
When I arriyed, she *d throw an hour away 
To hdp h«r . . . what am I ? 

Lady Car. You thought of me, 

Dear Wentworth? 
Went. But go on I The party here I 

Lady Car, They do not think your Irish 
goremsient 
Of that snrpaasing value . . . 

Wewi. The one thing 

Of vahie ! Tlie one service that the crown 
: Vay coont on ! All that keeps these very Vanes 
: In power, to vex me — not that they do vex, 
Oaiy it might vex some to hear that service 
Deoied, the sole support that *s left the King ! 
Lady Car. So the Archbishop says. 
Went. Ah? well, perhaps 

Tbe only hand held itp in my defence 
mm^ be old Laud> 1 Theee Hollands then, these 
i Saviles 

' KbUe? Theynibble? — that's the very word I 

Lady Car, Your profit in the Customs, Bris- 

totsays, 

MB B e d s the due proportion : while the tax . . . 

Went. Enough I His too unworthy, — I am not 

mpttientaa I thought! What 'sTym about? 

LtdyCar. Pjrm? 

IVnf . Pjrm and the People. 

Lady Car, Oh, the Faction I 



Extinct — of no account: there '11 never be 
Another Parliament. 

Went. TeUSavilethatI 

You may know — (ay, you do — the creatures 

here 
Never forget !) that in my earliest life 
I was not . . . much that I am now! The King 
Mav take my word on points.conceming Pym 
Before Lord Savile^s, Lucy, or if not, 
I bid them ruin their wise selves, not me. 
These Vanes and Hollands ! I 'U not be their 

tool 
Who might be Pym's friend yet. 

But there's the King! 
Where is he ? 
Lady Car. Just apprised that you arrive. 
Went. And why not here to meet me ? I was 
told 
He sent for me, nay, longed for me. 

Lady Car. ^ Because, — 

He is now ... I think a Council 's sitting now 
About this Soots affair. 

Went. A Council sits ? 

Thev have not taken a decided course 
Without me in the matter ? 
Lady Car. I should say . . . 

Went. The war ? They cannot have agreed 
to that? 
Not the Soots' war ? — Mrithout consulting me — 
Me, that am here to show how rash it is. 
How easy to dispense with ? -^ Ah, you too 
Against me! well, — the King may tcJce his 

time. 
— Forget it, Lucy ! Cares make peevish : mine 
Weigh me (but 't is a secret) to my grave. 
Lady Car. For life or death I am your own, 
dear friend 1 {.Goes out. 

Went. Heartless I but all are heartless here. 
Go now. 
Forsake the People ! I did not forsake 
The People : they shall know it, when the King 
Will trust me ! — who trusts all beside at once. 
While I have not spoke Vane and Savile fair. 
And am not trusted : have but saved the throne: 
Have not picked up Uie Queen's glove prettily. 
And am not trosted. But he '11 see me now. 
Weston is dead : the Queen 's half Ei^lish now — 
More English : one oecisive word will brush 
These insects from . . . the step 1 know so well ! 
The King ! But now, to tell mm . . . no — to 

ask 
What 's in me he distrusts : — or, beet begin 
By proving that this frightful Scots affair 
Is just what I foretold. So much to say. 
And the flesh fails, now, and the time is come. 
And one false step no way to be repaired. 
You were avenged, Pym, could you look on me. 

(Ptm enters. ) 
Went* I little thought of you just then. 
Pym. No ? I 

Think always of you, Wentworth. 

Went. The old voice ! 

I wait the Kii^, sir. 

Pym. ^ ^ ^ True — you look so pale I 
A Council sits within ; when that breaks up 
He 'U see you. 

Went. Sir, I thank you. 

Pym. Oh, thank Land! 



54 



STRAFFORD 



Ton know when Lsad onoe gets on Church af- 
fairs 
The case is desperate : he '11 not be long 
To-day : he only means to proYCf to-day. 
We KngliBh all are mad to nave a hand 
In butchering the Scots for serving God 
After their fathers' fashion : only that I 

Went. Sir. keep your jests for those who 
relish tnem I 
(Does he enjoy their confidence ?) 'T is kind 
To tell me what the Council does. 

Pytn. You grudge 

That I should know it had resolved on war 
Before you came ? no need : you shall have all 
The credit, trust me ! 

Went, Have the Council dared — 

They have not dared . . . that is — I know you 

not. 
Farewell, sir : times are changed. 

Pym. — Since we two met 

At Greenwich? Tes: poor patriots though we 

be, 
Ton cut a figure, makes some slight return 
For your exploits in Ireland I Changed indeed, 
Could our friend Eliot look from out his grave I 
Ah, Wentworth, one thing for acquaintance' 

sake, 
Just to decide a question ; have you, now. 
Felt your old self since you forsook us ? 
Went. Sir I 

Pym. Spare me the gesture I you misappre- 
hend. 
Think not I mean the advantage is with me. 
I was about to sav that, for my part, 
I never quite held up my headsmce then — 
Was quite mvself since then : for first, you see, 
I lost all creait after that event 
With those who recollect how sure I was 
Wentworth would outdo Eliot on our side. 
Fomve me : Savile, old Vane, Holland here. 
Eschew plain-speaking : 't is a trick I keep. 
Went. How, when, where, Savile, Vane, and 
Holland speak. 
Plainly or otherwise, would have my scorn, 
All of my scorn, sir . . . 

Pym. . . . Did not my poor thoughts 

Claim somewhat ? 

Went. Keep your thoughts I believe the King 
Mbtmsts me for their prattle, all these Vanes 
And Saviles ! make your mind up, o' God's love, 
That I am discontented with the King I 
Pym. Why, you may be : I should be, that 
I know, 
Were I like you. 

Went. Lake me ? 

Pym. I care not much 

For titles : our friend Eliot died no lord, 
Hampden 's no lord, and Savile is a lord ; 
But you care, since you sold your soul for one. 
I can't think, therefore, your soul's purchaser 
Did well to laugh you to such utter scorn 
When you twice prayed so humbly for its price, 
The thirty silver pieces ... I should say, 
The Earldom yon expected, still expect. 
And may. Your letters were the movingest ! 
Console yourself : I Ve borne him prayers just 



now 



From Scotland not to be oppressed by Laud, 



Words moving in their way : he '11 pay, be sue, 
As much attention as to those you sent. 
Went. False, sir I Who showed them yoo? 
Suppose it BO, 
The King did very well . . . nay, I wasglad 
When it was shown me : I refused, the mst t 
John Pym, you were my friend — forbear me 
once ! 
Pym. Oh, Wentworth, ancient brother of 
my soul. 
That all should come to this I 

Went, Leave me ! 

Pym. My friend, 

Why should I leave yon ? 

Went. To tell Rudyard this. 

And Hampden this ! 

Pym. Whose faces onoe were bright 

At my approach, now sad with doubt and fear. 
Because! hope in you — yes, Wentworth, yon 
Who never mean to ruin England — you 
Who shi^e off, with God's help, an obBoene 

dream 
In this Ezekiel chamber, where it crept 
Upon you first, a|^d wake, yourself, your troe 
And proper self, our Leader, EIngland's Chief, 
And Hampden's friend I 

This is the proudest day ! 
Come, Wentworth I Do not even see the King \ 
The rough old room will seem itscdf again I 
We '11 both go in together : you 've not seen 
Hampden so long : come : and there 's Flemies: 

you '11 have 
To know young Vane. This is the proudest day ! 
[The KmiQ enters. WMHTwovrm lets /all Tym*b kmd. 

Charles. Arrived, my lord ? — This gentle- 
man, we know 
Was your old friend. 

The Scots shall be inf ormed 

What we determine for their happiness. 

{FrmffoeseitL 

Ton have made haste, my lord. 

Went. Sir, I am oome . . « 

Cha. To see an old familiar — nay, 't is well ; 
Aid us with his experience : this Scots' League 
And Covenant spreads too far, and we havs 

proofs 
That they intrigue with France : the Faction 

too. 
Whereof your friend there is the head and fronti 
Abets them, — as he boasted, verv like. 

Went. Sir, trust me I but for this once, trml 
me, sir ! 

Cha. What can you mean ? 

Went. That you should trust me. sir! 

Oh — not for my sake 1 but 't is aad, so saa 
That for distrusting me, you sn£Per — you 
Whom I would die to serve : sir, do yon think 
That I would die to serve you ? 

Cha. But rise, Wentworth 

Went. What shall convince you ? What doc 
Savile do 
To prove him . . . Ah, one can^t tear out one' 

heart 
And show it, how sincere a thiiif; it is I 

Cha. Have I not trusted you ? 

Went. Say augrht but tha 

There is my comfort, mark you : all will be 
So different when you trust me — as you shal 



STRAFFORD 



55 



h hu not been your fault, — I was away, 
Misfcook, malignecL how was the King to know ? 
I am here, now — he means to trust me, now — 
AH win go on so well ! 

Qm, Be sore I do — 

I *Te heard that I shonld trust yon: asyoucame, 
Yonr biend, the Gonntess, told me . . . 

WenL No, — hear nothing — 

Be told nothing abont me I — yon *re not told 
Your right-hand serres yon, or your children 
lore yon 1 

Cka. Yon love me, Wentworth : rise I 

WemL I can speak now. 

I hare no right to hide the truth. 'Tis I 
Can saTe you : only I. Sir, what must be ? 

Cka. ^ Since Land's assured (the minutes are 
within) 
— LoathasI am to spill my subjects' blood . . . 

Watt. That is, he '11 have a war : what 's 
done is done I 

Cktt, They have intrigued with France; 
that 's clear to Laud. 

Went. Has Laud suggested any way to meet 
The war's expense ? 

C3ka. He 'd not decide so far 

Uiidl yon joined us. 

Went. Host considerate I 

He's certain they intrigue with France, these 

Scots? 
The People would be with us. 

Cha. « Pym should know. 

WenL The People for us — were the People 
fornsi 
Sff, a great thought comes to reward your trust : 
Suomun a Parliament I in Ireland nrst, 
^Hien, here. 

Cka. In truth? 

Weid. That saves us I that puts off 

'Hie war, g^ves time to right their grievances — 
To talk with Pym. I know the Faction — Laud 
8o styles it — tutors Scotland : all their plans 
Ssj^wae no Parliament : in calling one 
Yon take them by surprise. Produce the proofs 
Of Scotland's treason : then bid England help : 
Even Pym will not reruse. 

Cka. You would begin 

With Ireland? 

Went. Take no care for that : that's sure 
Toprasper. 

Cka. Yon shall rule me. You were best 
Return at once : but take this ere you go ! 
Now, do I trust you ? You 're an Earl : my 

Friend 
Of Friends : yes, while . . . You hear me not ! 

Went. Say it all o'er a^ain — but once again: 
The first was for the music : once asaan I 

Cha. Strafford, my friend, there may have 
been reports. 
Tain mmors. Henceforth touching Strafford is 
To touch the apple of my sight : why gaze 
8o«aniefltly? 

Went, 1 am grown young again, 

And foohsh. What was it we spoke of ? 

Cka. Ireland, 

^fe Parliament, — 

Went. I may go when I will ? 

— Itew? 
Ga. Are yon tired so soon of us ? 



Went. My T^mg J 

But yon will not so utterly abhor 
A Parliament ? I 'd serve you any way. 

Cha. You said just now this was Ihe only 
way. 

Went. Sir, I will serve you I 

Cha. Stranord, spare yourself : 

You are so sick, they tell me. 

Went. 'Tis my soul 

That 's well and prospers now. 

This Parliament — 
We '11 summon it, the Enc'lish one — I '11 care 
For everything, x on shall not need them much. 

Cha. If they prove restive . . . 

Went. I shall be with you. 

Cha. Ere they assemble ? 

Went. ^ I will come, or else 

Deposit this infirm humanity 
I' tne dust.^ Mv whole heart stays with you, 
my King r 

lAt WszfTWOBTH goes out, the Qvasir enters. 

Cha. That man must love me. 

Queen. Is it over then ? 

Why, he looks vellower than ever ! Well, 
At least we shall not hear eternally 
Of service — services : he 's paid at least. 

Cha. Not done with : he engages to surpass 
All yet performed in Ireland. 

Queen. I had thought 

Nothing beyond was ever to be done. 
The war, Charles — will he raise supplies 
enough ? 

Cha. T^'ve hit on an exi>edient; he . . . 
that is, 
I have advised ... we have decided on 
The calling — in Ireland — of a Parliament. 

Queen. O trulv ! You agree to that ? Is that 
The first-fruit oi his counsel ? But I guessed 
As much. 

Cha. This is too idle, Henriette I 
I should know best. He will strain every nerve, 
And once a precedent established . . . 

Queen. Notice 

How sure he is of a' long term of favor I 
He '11 see the nert, and the next after that ; 
No end to Parliuuents I 

Cha. Well, it is done. 

He talks it smoothly, doubtless. H, indeed, 
The Commons here ... 

Queen. Here !^ you will summon them 

Here ? Would I were in France i^ain to see 
A King ! 

Cha. But, Henriette . . . 

Queen. Oh, the Scots see dear I 

Why should they bear your rule ? 

Una. But listen, sweet ! 

Qu^n. Let Wentworth listen — you confide 
in him I 

Cha. I do not, love, — I do not so confide I 
The Parliament shall never trouble us I 
. . Nay, hear me! I have schemes, such 

schemes : we '11 buy 
The leaders off: without that, Wentworth's 

counsel 
Had ne'er prevailed on me. Perhaps I call it 
To have excuse for breaking it forever. 
And whose will then the blame be ? See you 
not? 



S6 



STRAFFORD 



Gome, dearest I — look, the little fairy, now. 
That cannot reach my shoulder I Dearest, 
come I 

ACT II 

Sconn I. (At in Act I. Scene 1.) 
The same Party enters, 

Rud. Twelve sahsidies I 

Vane, O Rndyard, do not langh 

At least I 

Rud. True : Strafford called the Parlia- 
ment — 
'T is he should langh I 

A Pftritan. Oat of the serpent's root 

Comes forth a cockatrice. 

Fien, — A stin^ng one, 

If that 's the Parliament : twelve subsidies I 
A stinging one ! bnt, brother, where 's your 

WOI1I1 

For Strafford's other nest-en, the Soots' war ? 
The Puritan. His fruit snail be a fiery flying 

serpent. 
Fien. Shall be ? It chips the shell, man ; 
peeps abroad. 
Twelve subsidies 1 — Why, how now, Vane ? 
Bud. Peace, Fiennes ! 

Fien. Ah ? — Bnt he was not more a dupe 
than I, 
Or yon, or anv here, the day that Pvm 
Returned with the good news. Look up, friend 

Vane I 
We all believe that Strafford meant us well 
In summoning the Parliament. 
(Hamfdsh enters.) 
Vane. Now, Hampden, 

Clear me I I would have leave to sleep again : 
I 'd look the People in the face again : 
Clear me from having, from the first, hoped, 

dreamed 
Better of Strafford ! 

Hamp. Ton may grow one day 

A steadfast light to England, Henry Vane I 
Rud. Meantime, by flashes I make shift to 

Strafford revived our Parliaments ; before. 
War was but talked of ; there 's an army, now : 
Still, we 've a Parliament I Poor Ireland bears 
Another wrench (she dies the hardest death I) — 
Why, speak of it in Parliament I and lo, 
'Tis spoken, so console yourselves I 

Fien. The jest! 

We clamored, I suppose, thus long, to .win 
The privilege of laymg on our backs 
A sorer burden than the King dares lay. 
Rud. Mark now : we meet at length, com- 
plaints pour in 
From every county, all the land cries out 
On loans and levies, curses ship-money. 
Calls vengeance on the Star Chamber ; we lend 
An ear. " Ay, lend them all the ears you 

have ! " 
Puts in the King ; " my subjects, as you find. 
Are fretful, and conceive great things of ^ou. 
Just listen to them, friends ^ you '11 sanction me 
The measures they most wmoe at, make them 
yours, 



Instead of mine, I know : and. to b^;in, 
They say my levies pinch them, — raise me 

stnught 
Twelve subsidies ! " 

Fien. All England cannot faxniah 

Twelve subsidies I 

Hd. But Strafford, just returned 

From Ireland — what has he to do with that ? 
How could he speak his mind? He left be- 
fore 
The Parliament assembled. Pym, who knows 
Strafford ... 

Rud. Would I were sure we know ourselves ! 
What is for good, what, bad — who friend, who 
foe I 

Hoi. Do yon count Parliaments no gain ? 

Rud. A gain ? 

While the King's creatures overbalance us ? 
— There 's going on, beside, among ourselves 
A ouiet, slow, but most effectual course 
Of Duyiiig over, sapping, leavening 
The lump till all is leaven. Glanville's gone. 
I '11 put a case ; had not the Court declarea 
That no sum short of just twelve subsidies 
Will be accepted by the King — our House, 
I say, would have consented to that offer 
To let us buy off ship-money I 

Uol. Most like. 

If, say, six subsidies will buy it off, 
The House . . , 

Rud. Will grant them I Hampden, do yon 
hear? 
Congratulate with me I the Eang 's the king^. 
And gains his point at last — our own assent 
To that detested tax I All 's over, then 
There 's no more takiiu^^ refuge in this room. 
Protesting, *' Let the Iving do what he will. 
We, EngiMid, are no party to our shame : 
Our day will come I " Congratulate wi^ me ! 

(Pnc entert,) 

Vane. Pym, Strafford called this Parliament, 
you say. 
But we '11 not have our Parliaments like those 
In Ireland, Pjrm ! 

Rud. Let him stand forth, your friend 1 

One doubtful act hides far too many sins ; 
It can be stretched no more, and, to my mind. 
Begins to drop from those it covered. 

Other Voices. ^ Good ! 

Let him avow himself I No fitter time 1 
We wait thus long for yon. 

Rud. Perhaps, too Ions' ^ 

Since nothing bnt the madness of the Court, 
In thus unmasking its designs at once. 
Has saved us from betrayine England. Stay — 
This Parliament is Straffora's : let us vote 
Our list of Grievances too black by far 
To suffer talk of subsidies : or best. 
That ship-money 's disposed of long ago 
By England : any vote that 's broad enough r 
And then let Strafford, for the love of it, 
Support his Parliament I 

Vane. And vote as well 

No war to be with Scotland I Hear you, Pyzn ? 
We '11 vote, no war I No part nor lot in it 
For England I 

Ifanv Voices. Vote, no war I Stop the 
levies I 




STRAFFORD 



57 



No Bishops' var 1 At onoe I WHen next we 
meetl 
Pjfm. Mneh moie when next we meet I 
Friends, which of you 
Suiee tint the oonne of Strafford was in doubt, 
Has fallen th6 most away in soul from me ? 

Fane. I sat apart, even now under Qod's eye, 
Foiideaniig the words that should denounce you, 

In pPBsenoe of us all, as one at leafirne 
With Kngland's enemy. 

iVn. Tou are a good 

And gaDant sinritf Henrv. Take my hand 
And say yon pardon me for all the pain 
"nn now I Strafford is wholly ours. 

Mmv Voices, Sure ? sure ? 

/V"- Most sure : for Charles dissolves the 
Parliament 
While I speak here. 

— And I must speak, friends, now ! 
Stzafford is ours. The King detects the change, 
Carts Stafford off forever, and resumes 
His sndent path: no Parliament for us, 
No Strafford for the King I 

Gome, all of you, 
To Ind the King &rewell, predict suooesB 
To his Soots' expedition, and receive 
Sbsfford, our comrade now. The next will be 
Indeed a Parliament I 

Vane. Forgive me, Pym I 

FotOM. This looks like truth : Strafford can 
have, indeed. 
No choice. 

Pym. Friends, follow me ! He's with the 



Gome, Hiun|den, and come, Rudyard, and 

come, V ane ! 
This is no snllen day for England, sirs I 
Stzsff ord shall tell you I 
Foices. To Whitehall then I Gome! 

8onm II. WhiUhall. 

CiuLBUB and Btsattosd. 

Cba. Strafford! 

Strqfford. Is it a dream? my papers, here — 
lliiia, as I left them, all the pkuis you found 
So happy — (look ! the track you pressed my 

For pointing out) — and in this very room. 
Over these very plans, you tell me, sir, 
With the some face, too — tell me just one thing 
That ruins them ! How 's this ? What may 

thismean? 
Sb. who has done this? 

Qha. Strafford, who but I ? 

Ton bade me put the rest away : indeed 
Too are alone. 

SCrq/*. Alone, and like to be I 

So fear, when some unworthy scheme grows 

ripe, 
|K those, who hatdied it, leaving me to loose 
ns Busi^ef on the world I Laud hatches war, 
][iBi to his prayers, and leaves the rest to me, 
'Aai I'm alone. 

Qs. At least, you knew as much 

vvWa fixat you undertook the war. 



Strcf, Mj liege. 

Was this the way ? I said, since Laud would lap 
A little blood, 't were best to hurry over 
The loathsome business, not to be whole months 
At slaughter — one blow, only one, then, peace. 
Save for the dreams. I said, to p lease you both 
I 'd lead an Irish armv to the West, 
While in the South an English . . . but you look 
As though you had not told me fifty times 
'T was a brave plan ! My army is all raised, 
I am prepared to join it . . . 

Cha, Hear me, Strafford ! 

Strttf. . . . When, for some little thing, my 
whole design 
Is set aside — (where is the wretched paper ?) 
I am to lead — (ay, here it is) — to lead 
The English army : why ? Northumberland, 
That I appointed, chooses to^ be sick — 
Is frightened : and, meanwhile, who answers for 
The Irish Parliament ? or army, either ? 
Is this my phin ? 

Cha, So disrespectful, sir? 

Str<\f, My lie^, do not believe it I I am yours, 
Tours ever : 't is too late to think about : 
To the death, yours. Elsewhere, this untoward 

stop 
Shall piu9S for mine ; the world shall think it 

mine. 
But here 1 But here I I am so seldom here, 
Seldom with you, my King ! I. soon to rush 
Alone upon a giant in the dark I 

Cha, Mv Strafford! 

Strc^, [Examines papers awhile,'] "Seize 
the passes of the TVne I " ^ 
But, sir, you see — see all I say is true ? 
My plan was sure to prosper, so, no cause 
To ask the Parliament for help ; whereas 
We need them frightfully. 

Cha, Need the Parliament ? 

Sir€^f, Now, for God's sake, sir, not one error 
more! 
We can afford no error ; we draw, now. 
Upon our last resource : the Parliament 
Must help us I 

Cha, I 've undone you, Strafford ! 

Strqf. Nay— 

Nay — why despond, sir,^ 't is not come to that ! 
I have not hurt you ? Sir, what have I said 
To hurt you ? I unsay it ! Don't despond I 
Sir, do you turn from me ? 

Cha, Mv friend of friends ! 

Str({f, We '11 make a shirt. Leave me the 
Farliament I 
Help they us ne'er so little and I '11 make 
Sufficient out of it. We 'U speak them fair. 
They're sitting, that's one great thing; that 

half g^ves 
Their sanction to us; that's much: don't de- 
spond! 
Why, let them keep their money, at the worst ! 
The reputation of the People's help 
Is all we want : we '11 make shift yet ! 

Cfia, ^ Grood Strafford ! 

Strcif. But meantime, let the sum be ne'er so 
small 
They offer, we '11 accept it : any sum — 
For the look of it : the least grant tells the Soote 
The Parliament is ours — their stanch ally 



58 



STRAFFORD 



Turned ours : that told, there ^s half the blow to 

strike I 
What wiU the giant be? What does Glanyille 
think? 
Cha, Alas! 
Strqf, Hy liege? 

Cha. Strafford I 

Strc^, Bnt answer me I 

Have they . . . Oh surely not refused ns half ? 
Half the twelve subsidies ? We never looked 
For all of them. How manv do they give ? 
Cha, You have not heara . . . 
Strqf. (What has he done ?) — Heard what ? 
But speak at once, sir, this grows terrible ! 

[ The King cfnUinwing tiletU. 
Tou have dissolved them I — I ''11 not leave this 

man. 
• Cha, 'T was old Vane's ill-judged vehemence. 
Strqf. Old Vane ? 

Cha, He told them, just about to vote the 
half. 
That nothing short of all twelve subsidies 
Would serve our turn, or be accepted. 

Strqf. Vane! 

Vane I Who, sir, promised me, that very 

Vane . . . 
O Gk>d, to have it gone, quite gone from me. 
The one last hope — I that despair, my hope — 
That I should reach his heart one da^, and cure 
All bitterness one day, be proud again 
And young a^ain, care for the sunshine too. 
And never think of Eliot anv more, — 
Qod, and to toil for this, go far for this. 
Get nearer, and still nearer, reach this heart 
And find Vane there I 

[Suddenly taking up a paper, tmd continuing tvOh a 
joreed calmneu. 

Northumberland is aiek : 
WelL then, I take the army : Wilmot leads 
The horae, and he, with Conway, must secure 
The TMimon of the Ty^e : Ormond supplies 
My place in Ireland. Here, we 'U ti^ the City : 
If they refuse a loan — debase the coin 
And seize the bullion ! we *ve no other choice. 
Herbert . . . 

And this while I am here I with you ! 
And there are hosts such, hosts like Vane I I go. 
And, I once gone, they '11 dose around you, sir. 
When the leaust pique, pettiest mistrust, is sure 
To ruin me — and yon along with me 1 
Do ^ou see that ? And you along with me I 
— Sir, you '11 not ever listen to these men. 
And I awav, fighting your battle ? Sir, 
H they — if She — charge me, no matter how — 
Say you. " At any time when he returns 
His heaa is mine I ' ' Don't stop me there I You 

know 
My head is yours, but never stop me there ! 

Cha, Too shameful, Strafford I You advised 
the war, 
And . . . 

Straf. 1 1 1 1 that was never spoken with 
Till it was entered on I That loathe the war I 
That say it is the maddest, wickedest . . . 
Do you know, sir, I think within my heart. 
That yon would say I did advise the war ; 
And if, through your own weakness, or, what 's 
worse. 



These Soots, with God to help them, drive me 

back. 
You will not step between the raging People 
And me, to say ... 

I knew it I from the fixsfc 
I knew it ! Never was so cold a heart I 
Remember that I said it — that I never 
Believed you for a moment I 

— And, you loved me? 
You thought your perfidy profoundly hid 
Because Icomd not share the whisperings 
With Vane, with Savile? What, Uie face was 

masked? 
I had the heart to see, sir I Face of flesh. 
But heart of stone — of smooth cold ficightfnl 

stone I 
Ay,calltheml Shall I call forvou ? TheSoots 
Goaded to madness ? Or the £jiglish — Pym — 
Shall I call Pym, your subject ? Oh, vou think 
I '11 leave them in the dark about it aU ? 
They shall not know you? Hampden, P^ 

shall not? 

(Pm, HAMnnov, Tim, ele., enter.) 
[Dropping on his knee.] Thus favored with your 

gracious countenance 
What shall a rebel League avail against 
Your servant, utterly and ever yours ? 
So, gentlemen, the King 's not even left 
The privil^pe of bidding me farewell 
Who haste to save the People — that yon utyie 
Your People — from the mercies of the Scots 
And France their friend ? 

tToCHABLEs.] Pym's grave gray eyes are fisced 
Fpon you, sir I 

Your pleasure, gentlemen. 
Hamp, The King dissolved us — 'tisUieKing 
we seek 
And not Lord Strafford. 

Strqf, Strafford, gnilty too 

Of counselling the measure. [To Charlxb*] 

(Hush . . . you know — 
You have forgotten — sir, I counselled it) 
A heinous matter, truly ! But tiie King 
Will vet see cause to thank me for a oouzBe 
Which now, perchance . . . (Sir, tdl them so I) 

— he blames. 
Well, choose some fitter time to make your 

charge : 
I shall be with the Soots, you understand ? 
Then yelp at me I 

Meanwhile, your Majesty- 
Binds me, by this fresh token oi your trust ... 

[Under the pretence of an earnest farewell^ SfrttAwwomM^ 
conduct* Crablbs to the door^ in such a manner am §o 
hide kis agitation from the rest : as the King disap^ 
pears, they turn as by one impulse to Ptm, toko Jka* 
not changed his original posture qf surprise. 

Hamp, Leave we this arrogant stzong wicked. 

man! 
Vane and others. Hence, Pym I Gome out atf 
this unworthy place 
To our old room again I He 's gone. 
[STRAVfosD, just about to folUw the King^Jooks beus^ 
^^* Not gone ! 

[ To Straffobd.1 Keep tryst I the old appoizitH 

ment 's made anew : 
Forget not we shall meet again I 
Straf, Sobeit! 



STRAFFORD 



59 



His friends 



And if an aimy f oDows me ? 

Will entertain yonr army I 

Py». I '11 not say 

You have misreokoned, Strafford : time shows. 

Perish 
Body and spirit I Fool to f ei^ a donbt, 
Pretend the sempnlons and moe reserre 
Of one whose prowess shall aohieye the feat ! 
What share have I in it? Dolaffect 
To see no dismal 8ig;n above your head 
When God suspends his roinous thnnder there ? 
Strafford is doomed. Touch him no one of you I 

[Ptm, Hampdbh, e^c, go mU, 

Sirtrf. ^yv^ "^^ shall meet f^;ain I 
(lAdy Cabt.wiiS eniertA 

You nere, child ? 

Ladp Car, Hu^ — 

Iknowitall: hush, Strafford ! 

Strtif, Ah! you know? 

Wdl. I shall make a sorry soldier, Xiuoy ! 
An kmehts begin their enteiprise, we r^id, 
lUer the best of auspices ; t ia mom, 
Hie Lady girds his sword upon the Youth 
(He 's always veiy young) — the trumpets sound, 
Oips nledge him, and, why, the King blesses 

him — 
Ton need not turn a page of the romance 
To learn the Dreadful Giant's fate. Indeed, 
We 'to the fair Ladv here ; but she apart, — 
A poor man, rarely haying handled lance, 
Aad. rather old, weary, and far from sure 
Si Squirea are not tne €Hant's friends. All 's 



Let us go forth I 

Lady Car. Go forth? 

Stxf. What matters it ? 

We ihall die gloriously — as the book says. 

Lady Car. To Scotland ? not to Scotland ? 

Straf. Am I sick 

like vour good brother, brave Northumber- 

.Beside, these walk seem falling on me. 

lorfy Car. Strafford, 

^le wmd that saps these walls can undermine 
jTonr eamp in Scotland, too. Whence creeps 

the wind? 
Bave fan no eves except for Pym ? Look here I 
A, breed of silken creatures lurk and thrive 
^fnyoaroootempt. You '11 vanquish Pym? Old 
Vane 
vanqnishyon. And Vane you think to fly ? 
' on the Scots I Do nobly I Vane's slight 



test success, adjust the praise, suggest 
faint result : Vane's sneer shall reach you 
thoe. 
— Toa do not listen ! 

A ru/l ^ Oh, — I give that up ! 

's fate in it : I give all here quite up. 
lot what old Vane does or Holland does 
me I 'T is so idle to withstand I 
^ — K teQ me what they do I 
•MrCW. Bnt,Strafford . . . 

fff. I want a little strife, beside : real strife ; 
w jyp ^ palace-warfare does me harm : 
_ X Mflfsel better, fairly out of it. 
■^^ Car, Why do you smile ? 



Str<{f. I got to fear them, child ! 

I could have torn his throat at first, old Vane's, 
As he leered at me on his stealthy way 
To the Queen's closet. I<Drd, one loses heart ! 
I often found it on my lips to say, 
*^ Do not traduce me to her ! " 

Lady Car. ^ But the King . . . 

Strttf. The King stood there, 't is not so long 

— There ; and the whisper, Lucy, " Be my friend 
Of friends I " — My King ! I would have . . . 

Lady Car, . . . Died for him ? 

Strcf, Sworn him true, Lucy : I can die for 
him. 

Lady Car, But go not, Strafford ! But you 
must renounce 
This project on the Soots ! Die, wherefore die ? 
Charles never loved you. 

8tr<\f, And he never will. 

He 's not of those who care the more for men 
That they 're unfortunate. 

Lady Car. Then wherefore die 

For such a master ? 

Strqf. You that told me first 

How good he was — when I must leave true 

friends 
To find a truer friend ! — that drew me here 
From Ireland, — ^^ I had but to show myself. 
And Charles would spurn Vane, Savile, and the 

rest" — 
You, child, to ask me this ? 

Lady Car. (If he have set 

His heart abidingly on Charles !) 

Then, friend, 
I shall not see you any more. 

Straf, Yes, Lucy. 

There 's one man here I have to meet. 

Lady Car. (The King! 

What way to save him from the Kine^? 

My soul — 
That lent from its own store the charmed dis- 
guise 
Which clothes the King —he shall behold my 

soul!) 
Strafford, — I shall speak best if ^ou '11 not gaze 
Upon me : I had never thought, indeed. 
To speak, but you would perish too, so sure ! 
Could you but know what 'tis to bear, my 

friend. 
One imaK^e staini)ed within you, turning blank 
The eke imperial brilliance^ of your mind, — 
A weakness, but most precious, — like a flaw 
I' the diamond, which should shape forth some 

sweet face 
Yet to create, and meanwhile treasured there 
Let nature lose her gracious thought forever ! 

Strqf. When could it be ? no ! Yet . . . was 
it the dav 
We waited in the anteroom, till Holland 
Should leave the presence-chamber ? 

Lady Car. What? 

Strc/. —That I 

Described to you my love for Charles ? 

Lady Car. (Ah, no — 

One must not lure him from a love like that ! 
Oh, let him love the King and die ! 'T is past. 
I shall not serve him worse for that one brief 
And passionate hope, silent forever now I) 



6o 



STRAFFORD 



And von are really bonnd for Scotland then ? 
I wish you well : von mnst be very sore 
Of the King's faim, for "P^mx and all his crew 
Will not be idle — settinfir Vane aside I 
Strcif, If Pym is busy, — yon may write of 

rTnn. 
Lady Car. What need, since there's yonr 
King to take your part ? 
He may endure Vane's counsel ; but for Pym — 
Think you he '11 suffer Pym to . . . 

Strqf. Child, yonr hair 

Is elossier than the Queen's I 

Lady Car, Is that to ask 

A curl of me ? 
Straf, Scotland — the weary way ! 

Lady Car. Stay, let me fasten it. 

— A rival's, Strafford ? 
Strcif. [showing the George.^ ^ fie hung it 

there : twine yours around it, child ! 
Lady Car. No — no — another time — I trifle 
sol 
And there 's a masque on foot. FareweU. The 

Court 
Is dull : do something to enliven us 
In Scotland : we expect it at your hands. 
Straf. I shall not fail in Scotland. 
Lady Car. ^ Prosper — if 

You 'II think of me sometimes I 

Strc^. How think of him 

And not of you ? of you, the lingering streak 
(A golden one) in my good fortune's eve. 
Lady Car. Strafford . . . Well, when the 
eve has its last streak 
The night has its first star. iShe goes out. 

Straf. That voice of hers — 

You 'd think she had a heart sometimes I His 

voice 
Is soft too. 

Onlv Qod can save him now. 
Be Thou about his bed, about his path I 
His path I Where's England's path? Diverg- 
ing wide. 
And not to join again the track my foot 
Must follow — whither ? All that forlorn way 
Among the tombs I Far — far — till . . . What, 

they do 
Then join again, these paths ? For, huge in the 

dusk. 
There 's — Pym to face ! 

Why then, I have a foe 
To dose with, and a fight to fight at last 
Worthy my soul I What, do they beard the 

King. 
And shall the King want Strafford at his need ? 
Am I not here ? 

Not in the market-place. 
Pressed on by the rough artisans, so proud 
To catch a glance frcmi Wentworth ! They lie 

down 
Hungry yet smile, **Why, it must end some 

day: 
Is he not watching for our sake ? " Not there t 
But in Whitehall, the whited sepulchre. 
The ... 

Curse nothing to-night I Only one name 
They'll curse in all those streets to-night. 

Whose fault? 
Did I make kings ? set up, the first, a man 



To represent the multitude, receive 
All love in right of them — supplant them so, 
Until you love the man and not the king — 
The man with the mild voice and mountfnl eyes 
Which send me forth. 

— To breast the bloody sea 
That sweeps before me : with one star for guide. 
Night has its first, supreme, forsaken star. 



ACT III 



Sir 



Scan I. OppotUe Weatmikuier HtOL 



Vaxb, Lord Bavkb, Loan Houjan aad 
others of the Court. 



SirH. Vane. The Commons thrust von out? 

Savile. ^ And what kept you 

From sharing their civility ? 

Vane. Kept me ? 

Fresh news from SooUand, sir I worse than the 

last. 
If that may be. All 's up with Strafford there : 
Nothing to bar the mad Soots marching hither 
Next I^rd's-day morning. That detained me, 

sir! 
Well now, before ^ey thrust you out,— ffo on,— 
Their Speaker — did the fellow Lenthal say 
All we set down for him? 

Holland. Not a word missed. 

Ere he began, we entered, Savile, I 
And Bristol and some more, with hope to breed 
A wholesome awe in the new Parliament. 
But such a gang of graceless ruffians. Vane, 
As glared at us I 

Vane. So many ? 

Sav. Not a bench 

Without its complement of burlyknavee ; 
Your hopeful son amon^ them : Hunpden leant 
Upon his shoulder — thmk of that I 

Vane. I 'd think 

On Lenthal's speech, if I could get at it. 
Urged he, I ask, how grateful they should prove 
For this unlooked-for summons from the King ? 

Hall. Just as we drilled him. 

Vane. That the Scots will march 

On London ? 

HoU. ^ All, and made so much of it, 

A dozen subsidies at least seemed sure 
To follow, when . . . 

Vane. Well? 

HoU. 'T is a strange thing: now 1 

I 've a vague memory of a sort oi sound, 
A voice, a kind of vast unnatural voice — 
Pym, sir, was speaking ! Savile, help me ont : 
What was it all ? 

Sav. Something about *^ a matter " — 

No, — " work for England." 

Holt. *' England's great reveag^ ^ 

He talked of. 

Sav. How should I get used to Pym 

More than yourselves ? 

Holl. However that majr be 

'T was something with which we had nanglit t 

do. 
For we were "strangers," and 'twas **' 'R»^ 

land's work '' — 
(All this while looking us strai^t in the faoe) 



STRAFFORD 



6i 



In other iranLsL our praeenoe might be spared. 

^ in the twinklingr of an eye, before 

I settled to my mind what ugly brute 

Ww ISk&st Yvm just then, they yelled ns oat. 

Locked the ooors after ns, ana here are we. 

Vaae, Sliot^s old method . . . 

Sao, Prithee, Vane, a trace 

To Biot and his times, and the great Dnke, 
And how to manage Parliaments I 'T was yoa 
Adfked the Queen to summon this : why, Straf- 
ford 
(To do him justice) would not hear of it. 

Vame, Say rather, you have done the best of 
tarns 
To Stiafford : he ^s at York, we all know why. 
1 would yoa had not set the Soots on Strafford 
TQl StzaiFord put down I^rm for us, my lord I 

Sag. Was it I altered Strafford's plans? did 

1. . . 

(A MoMfin ger eniers.) 

Ma, llie Queen, my lords — she sends me : 
fiflowine 
AtoDce; *t is reiy urip[ent I she requires 
Toureoansel: somethug perilous and strange 
Oeeaskns her command. 

8av. We follow, friend I 

Now, Vane : — your Pkurliament will plague us 
aU! 

Vium. No Strafford here beside I 

Sac If you dare hint 

I had a hand in his betrayalj sir . . . 

Hall. Nay, find a fitter tmie for quarrels — 

Pym 

Will oveimateh the best of you ; and, think, 
HieQaeeBl 

Vam- Come on, then: understand, I loathe 
Stmfford as much as any — but his use I 
To keep off Pym, to screen a friend or two, 
I woala we had reserved him yet awhile. 

BcnalL WhUehaU, 
The Qoasa and Lady Cabubls. 

Owes. It cannot be. 

Ididt Car, It is so. 

Qmo. Why, the House 

Hsre hardly met. 

JLady Car, They met for that. 

QmetM, No, no I 

Meet to impeaeh Lord Strafford? 'Tisajest. 

LdMdy Car, A bitter one. 

Qmeen. Consider I 'T is the House 

We annomaoed so reluctantly, which nothing 
Bat the disastrous issue of the war 
I^Bsoaded us to sommon. They '11 wreak all 
IWsr spite on us, no doubt ; but the old way 
li to b^gin by talk of grievances : 
Ihsy ha.ve their grievances to busy them. 

Latfy Car, "Pjm. has begun his speech. 

Qawii. Where 'b Vane ? — That is, 

^Bi w31 impeach Lord Strafford if he leaves 
BblVesidency : he 's at York, we know, 

the Soots beat him : why should he leave 
York? 

Xarfy C^. Because the King sent for him. 

^ Ah — but if 

did send for him, he let him know 
f oreed to call a Pariiament — 




A step which Strafford, now I come to think. 
Was vehement against. 

Lady Car, The Pplio^ 

EBcai>ed him, of first striking Parhaments 
To earth, then setting them upon their feet 
And giving: them a sword : but this is idle. 
IHd the jSog send for Strafford ? He will come. 

Queen, Asud. what am I to do ? 

Lady Car, What do? Fail, madam! 

Be rained for his sake ! what matters how, 
So it but stand on record that you made 
An effort, only one ? 

Queen. The King away 

AtTheobald'sI 

Lady Car. Send for him at once : he must 
DiiSBolve the House. 

Queen. Wait till Vane finds the truth 

Of the report : then . . . 

Lady Car. — It will matter little 

What the King does. Strafford that lends his 

arm 
And breaks his heart for you I 

(Sir H. YAMm enters.) 

Vane. The Commons, madam, 

Are sitting with closed doors. A huge debate. 
No lack of noise ; but nothing, I should gruess, 
Concerning Strafford : Pym has certainly 
Not spokenyet. 

Queen. [To Lady Cart.tht.k.] You hear? 

Lady Car. I do not hear 

That the King's sent for! 

Vane. Savile will be able 

To tell you more. 

(HoLLASD enters.) 

Queen, The last news, Holland ? 

HoU. Pym 

Is raging like a fire. The whole House means 
To follow him toother to Whitehall 
And force the King to give up Strafford. 

Qjieen. Strafford ? 

SoU. If they content themselves with Straf- 
ford ! Laud 
Is talked of, Cotdngton and Windebank too. 
Pym has not left out one of them — I would 
You heard Pym raging I 

Queen. Vane, go find the King I 

Tell the King, Vane, the People follow Pym 
To brave us at Whitehall I 

(Bavilb enters.) 

Sav. Not to Whitehall — 

'T is to the Lords they go : thev seek redress 
On Strafford from his peers — the legal way. 
They call it. 

Oueen. (Wait, Vane!) 

Sav. But the adage gives 

Long life to threatened men. Strafford can save 
Himself so readily : at York, remember. 
In lus own county : what has he to fear ? 
The Commons omv mean to frighten him 
From leaving York. Surely, he will not come. 

Queen. Lucy, he will not come ! 

Lady Car. Once more, the King 

Has sent for Strafford. He will come. 

Vane. Oh doubtless I 

And bring destruction with him : that 's his way. 

What but his ooming spoilt all Conway's plan ? 

The King must take hia counsel, choose his 

frioids. 



62 



STRAFFORD 



Be whoUy ruled hj him I What 's the result ? 
The North that was to liae, Iiehmd to help, — 
What came of it ? In my poor mind, a fnght 
Is no prodigious punishment. 

Lady Car. Afinght? 

Pym will fail worse than Strafford if ne thinks 
To frighten him. [To the Quebk.] Ton will 
not save him then ? 

8av, When something like a chaige is made, 
the King 
Will best know how to save him : and 't is clear, 
While Strafford suffers nothing by the matter, 
The Kii^ may reap advantage: this in question, 
No dinning you with ship-money complaints ! 

Queen, [To Lady Gablisle.J Ifwedissolye 
them, who will pav the army ? 
Protect us nom the insolent Soots ? 

Lady Car, In truth, 

I know not, madam. Strafford^s fate concerns 
Me little : you desired to learn what oouise 
Would save him : I obey you. 

Vane, Notice, too, 

There canH be fairer ground for taking full 
Revenge — (Strafford 's revengeful) — than he 'U 

have 
Against his old friend Pym. 

Queen. Why, he shall oUim 

yenjg:eanoe on Pym I 

Vane, And Strafford, who is he 

To *scape unscathed amid the accidents 
Hiat harass all beside ? I, for my part. 
Should look for something of discomfiture 
Had the King trusted me so thoroughly 
And been so paid for it. 

HoU. He '11 keep at York : 

All wiU blow over : he 'U return no worse. 
Humbled a little, thankful for a place 
Under as good a man. Oh, we '11 dispense 
With seeing Strafford for a month or two I 
(Btbaivobd enters, ) 

Queen, Ton here ! 

Strc^, The King sends for me, madam. 

Queen. Sir, 

The King . . . 

Straf, An urgent matter that imports 

the King I 
[To Lady Carlisle.] Why, Lucy, what's in 

aeitation now, 
That all this muttering and shruge:ing, see. 
Begins at me ? They do not speak I 

Lady Car, 'Tis welcome ! 

For we are proud of you — happy and proud 
To have you with us, Strafford! Yon were 

stanch 
At Durham : you did well there I Had ^on not 
Been stayed, you might have • . . we said, even 

now. 
Our hope 's in you I 

Vane, [To Lady Cablislb.] The Queen 
would speak with you. 

Straf, Will one of yon, his servants here, 
vouchsafe 
To signify my presence to the King ? 

Sav, An urgent matter ? 

Strc^. None that touches yon. 

Lord Savile ! Sa^, it were some treacherous 
Sly pitiful intriguing with the Soots — 
You would go free, at least I (They half divine 



Mypuxirase!) Madam, shall I seethe King? 
Tne service I would render, much oonoems 
His welfare. 

Queen, But his Majesty, my lord, 

Mav not be here, may ... 

btr<tf. Its importance, then. 

Must plead excuse for this withdrawal, madam, 
And tor the grief it gives Lord Savile here. 

Queen, VWho has been conversing with Yamb 
and Holland.] The King will see yon, 
sirl 

tTo Lady Cablislb.] Mark me : IVm's worst 
B done by now : he has impeached the Earl, 
Or found the Earl too strong for him, bv now. 
Let us not seem instructed I We should work 
No eood to Strafford, but deform ourselveB 
Wim shame in Uie world's eye. [To Stbaf- 

FOKD.] His Majesty 
Has much to say with you. 

Strqf. Thaae fleeting, too ! 

[To Lady Gabuble.] No means of getting 

them away ? And She — 
What does she whisper ? Does she know my 

purpose? 
What does she think of it ? Get them sway ! 
Queen, [To Lady Cablislb.] He comes to 
baffle P^ — he thinks the dai^er 
Far off : tell mm no word of it I a time 
For help will come : we '11 not be wanting tlien. 
Keep him in play, Lucy — you, self-poBsesaed 
And calm I [To Stbaffobd. J To spare your 

lordship some delay 
I will myseli acquaint the King. [To LiADY 
Cabuslb.T Beware I 
[The QxjBBf, VAmt, Hollahd, and 8avilb go ouL 
Strof. She knows it? 
Lady Car, Tell me, Strafford I 

Strqf. Afterward ! 

This moment 's the great moment of all time. 
She knows my purpose ? 

Lady Car, Thoroughly: just now 

She bade me hide it from you. 

Straf, Quick, dear child. 

The whole o' the scheme ? 

Lady Car, (Ah, he would leam if they 

Connive at Pym^s procedure ! Could they but 
Have once apprisea the King I But there 'a do 

time 
For falsehood, now.) Strafford, the whole is 
known. 
Straf, Known and approved? 
Lady Car, Hardly discountenanced. 

Strc^, And the Eliiig — say, the Kin^ oon- 

sente as well ? 
Lady Car, The E^ing's not yet informed, 
but will not dare 
To interpose. 

Straf, What need to wait Ima, then ? 

He *11 sanction it ! I stayed, child, tell jblm^ 

longl 
It vexed me to the soul — this waiting here. 
Ton know him, there's no counting on thi 

King. 
Tell him Iwaited long ! 

Lady Car, (What can he 

Rejoice at the King's hollowness ?) 

Strqf, I knew 

They would be glad of it, — all over once. 



STRAFFORD 



63 



« _ 



^ knew they wonld be glad : but he 'd oontriye, 
Tlie Qaeen and he, to mar, by helping it, 
An awrel*8 TnaVing. 

La^ Car. (Ib he mad ?) Dear Strafford, 
Yon were not wont to look so happy. 

Strttf. Sweet, 

I tiiea obedience thoroughly. I took 
Tlie King's wild plan: of course, ere I conld 

reach 
My army, Conway mined it. I drew 
The wreeka together, raised all heayen and 

earth, 
And wonld have fought the Scots : the King at 



Made tmee with them. Then, Lucy, then, 

dear child, 
God pot it in my mind to love, serve, die 
For Charles, but never to obey him more I 
While he endured their insolence at Ripon 
I fen on them at Durham. But you '11 tell 
TIm King I waited ? All the anteroom 
Is filled with my adherents. 

Lady Car, Stn^ord — Strafford, 

What djuing act is this you hint ? 

Straf. No. no ! 

Tis here, not daring if you knew ? all here ! 

IDrawing papers from his breasi. 
FnU proof ; see, ample proof — does the Queen 

know 
I have such «^^l■mn^ng proof ? Bedford and 



Brooke. Warwick, Savile (did yon notice Sa- 

vue? 
Hie simper that I spoilt ?), Saye, Mandeville — 
Sold to tiie Scots, body and soul, by Pym I 

Lady Car, Great heaven I 

Strqf. From Savile and his lords, to Pym 
And ms loeels, crushed 1 — Pym shall not ward 

the blow 
Nor Savile creep aside from it I The Crew 
And the Cabal — I crush them ! 

Lady Car. And yon go — 

StnSotd, — and now you go? — 

Strqf. ^ — About no work 

In the background, I promise you I I go 
Stnlgjbt to the House of Lords to chum these 

knaves. 
Mainvaringl 

LadjfCar. Stay— stay, Strafford! 

St-ftf, She '11 return, 

Tlie Queen — some little project of her own I 
^o time to lose : the King takes fright perhaps. 

Lady Car. Pym ^s strong^remember ! 

Stf^. ^^U Btrong^as fits 

Hie faetion^s head — with no offence to Hamp- 
den, 
Vane, Rndyard, and m^r loving Hollis: one 
And an they lodge witmn the Tower to-night 
In jnst equality. Bryan I Mainwaring ! 

IMany of hit Adherents enter. 
Ike Peers debate just now (a lucky chance) 
^1 the Scots' war : my visit 's opportune, 
when all is over, Bryan, you proceed 
To Ireland : these dispatches, mark me, Bryan, 
Aae for the Deputy, and these for Ormond : 
We want the army here — my army, raised 
Atwfh a cost, that should have done such good, 
And was inactive all the time ! no matter, 



We '11 find a use for it. Willis ... or, no — 

you I 
You, niend, make haste to York : bear this, at 

once . . . 
Or, — better stay for form's sake, see yourself 
The news you carry. Yon remain with me 
To execute the Parliament's command, 
Mainwaring I Help to seize these lesser knaves. 
Take care there 's no escaping at backdoors : 
I '11 not have one escape, mind me — not one ! 
I seem revengeful, Lucy ? Did you know 
What these men diare ! 

Lady Car, It is so much they dare ! 

Strcif, I proved that long ago; my turn is 
now. 
Keep sharp watch, Goring, on the citizens ! 
Observe wno harbors any of the brood 
That scramble off : be sure they smart for it ! 
Our coffers are but lean. 

^ And you, child, too. 
Shall have your task ; deliver this to Land. 
Laud will not be the slowest in mv praise : 
''Thorough." he 'U cry ! — Fooluh, to be so 

fflad! 
This life b gay and glowing, after all : 
'Tis worth wUle, Lucy, having foes like mine 
Just for the bliss of crushing them. To-day 
Is worth the living for. 

Lady Car, That reddening brow ! 

Y^ou seem 

Straf, Well — dolnot? Iwould be well — 
I could not but be well on such a day I 
And, this day ended, 't is of slight import 
How lon^ the ravaged frame subjects the soul 
InStrafrord. 

Lady Car, Noble Strafford ! 

Straf, No farewell ! 

I '11 see you anon, to-morrow — the first thing. 
— If She should come to st»r me ! 

Lady Car, Go — 't is nothing — 

Only my heart that swells : it has been thus 
Ere now : go, Strafford I 

Straf, To-night, then, let it be. 

I must see Him : yon, the next after Him. 
I '11 tell you how Pym looked. Follow me, 

friends! 
You, gentlemen, shall see a sight this hour 
To talk of all your lives. Close after me I 
''My friend of friends!" 

[STBAnoRD a$id the rest go out. 

Lady Car, The King — ever the King ! 
No thought of one b^de, whose little word 
Unveils the King to him — one word from me. 
Which yet I do not breathe ! 

Ah, have I spared 
Strafford a pang, and shall I seek re^^ud 
Beyond that memory ? Surely too, some way 
He is the better for my love. No, no — 
He would not look so joyous — I '11 believe 
His very eye would never sparkle thus. 
Had I not prayed for him tnis long, long while. 

Boxra ni. The Antechamber of the House of Lords, 

Many of the Pre^ierian Party. The Adherents of 

BTRAvroRO, etc. 

A Group of Presbyterians, — 1. I tell you he 
struck Maxwell : Maxwell sought 



64 



STRAFFORD 



To stay the Earl : he stmok him and passed on. 

2. Fear as yon may, keep a good oonntenanoe 
Before tibeae mfflers. 

3. Strafford here the first. 
With the great army at his hack ! 

4. No donbt. 
I wonld Pym had made haste : that 's Bryan, 

hnsh — 
The gallant pointing. 
Strf^fford^s Followers. — 1. Mark these wor- 
thies, now I 

2. A goodly gathering I ** Where the carcass 

is 
There shall the eagles** — What *b the rest ? 

3. For eagles 
Say crows. 

A Presbyterian, Stand back, sirs ! 

One qf StrtLfford's Followers. Are we in 

Oeneya T 
A Presbyterian. No, nor in Ireland ; we have 

leave to breathe. 
One qf Strqfford's Followers. Tmly? Be- 
hold how privil^ed we be 
That serve '' King Pym '* ! There *8 Some-one 

at WhitehaU 
Who skulks obscure ; but Pym struts . . . 
The Presbyterian. Nearer. 

A Follower ofStr<{fford. ^ Higher, 

We look to see him. [ To his Companions. ] I'm 

to have St. John 
In charge ; was he amon^ the knaves just now 
That followed Pym withm there ? 

Another. The gaunt man 

Talking with Rudyard. Did the Earl expect 
Pym at his heels so fast ? I like it not. 
(Mazwblii enters.) 
Another. Why, man, they rush into the net ! 
Here *s Maxwell — 
Ha, Maxwell ? How the brethren flock around 
The fellow ! Do you feel the Earl's hand yet 
Upon your shoulder, Maxwell ? 

maxwell. Gentlemen, 

Stand back I a great thing passes here. 
A Follower qf Strafford. [To another.^ The 
Earl 
Is at his work I [To M.] Say, Maxwell, what 

great thing I 
Speak out 1 [To a Presbjrterian.] Friend, I 've 

a kin^ess for you I Friend, 
I 've seen yon with St. John : O stockishness I 
Wear such a ruff, and never call to mind 
St. John's head in a charger ? How, the plague. 
Not Uugh ? 
Another. Say, Maxwell, what great thing I 
Another. Nay, wait: 

The jest will be to wait. 

First. And who 's to bear 

These demure hypocrites ? Ton 'd swear they 

came . . . 
Came . . . just as we come ! 
[A Puritan enters hastily and without observing Stbav- 
iou>*8 Followers. 

The Puritan. How goes on the work ? 

Has ^I'm . . . 
A Follower qf Strafford. The secret 's out at 
last. Aha, 
The carrion *s scented! Welcome, crow the 
first! 



Gorge merrily, you with the blinking eye 1 
''EingPymhasfaUenl" 

The Puritan. Pym? 

A Strafford. Pym ! 

A Presbyterian. Onlv Pym? 

Many qf Strafford's Followers. No, brother, 
not Pym only ; Vane as well, ' 

Rudyard as well, Hampden, St. John as well ! 

A Presbyterian. My mind misgives : can it be 
true? 

Another. Lost! Lost! 

A Strcfford. Say we true. Maxwell ? 

The Puritan. Pride before destmotioD, 

A haughty spirit goeth before a fall. 

Many of Strqff'ord^s Followers. Ah now ! The 
very thing ! A word in season I 
A golden apple in a silver picture 
To greet Pym as he passes I 

[The doors at the back begin to cpen^ noise and lif^ 

issuing. 

Max. Stand back, aU 1 

Many of the Presbyterians. I hold with rym ! 
And 1 1 

Strcfford^ s Followers, Now for the text ! 

He comes I Quick ! 

The Puritan. How hath the oppreasor ceased ! 
The Lord hath broken the staff of the wicked ! 
The sceptre of the rulers, he who smote 
The people in wrath with a continual stroke, 
That ruled the nations in his anger— he 
Is persecuted and none hindereui I 

[The doors open, and Stkaivosd issues in ihearealetl 
disorder, and amid cries from vMhin of *' Void tbe 
Hooae ! *^ 

Stntf. Impeach me ! Pym ! I never struck, I 

The felon on that calm insulling month 
When it proclaimed — Pym^ mouth proclaimed 

me . . . God I 
Was it a word, onlv a word that held 
The outrafireous blood back on my heart — 

which beats ! 
Which beats ! Some one word — " Traitor,'^ 

did be say. 
Bending that eye, brimful of bitter fire, 
Upon me ? 

Max, In the Commons' name, their servant 
Demands Lord Strafford's sword. 
Strc^f. What did yon say ? 

Max, The Commons bid me ask yonr lord- 
ship's sword. 
Strqf. Let us go forth : follow me, gentlemen \ 
Draw your swords too : cut any down that bar 

us. 
On the King's service ! Maxwell, clear the way ! 
[The Presbyterians prepare to dispute his passage. 
Strc^f. 1 stay : the JSjng himself shall see me 
here. 
Your tablets, fellow ! 

[To Maikwaring.] GKve that to the King ! 
Yes, Maxwell, for the next half-hour, let be I 
Nay, you shall take my sword ! 

[llAXwxLL adffonees to take iL 
Or, no — not that I 
Their blood, perhaps, mav wipe out all thus far, 
AU up to that — not that I Why, friend, yon see 
When the King lays yonr head beneath my foot 
It will not pay for that. Go, all of yon ! 



STRAFFORD 



6S 



Max, I daiw, my lord, to disobey : none stir ! 
St/t^. Hue gentle Maxwell ! — Do not touch 

him, Bryan I 
[To the Presbyterians.] Whicheyeroiirof yon 
will carry tlus 
Eieapes his fellow's fate. None saves bis life ? 
None ? {CriMfrom toUMn of '' BrRAWoaD !" 

Slinesby, I 've loved you at least : make haste I 
Stab me 1 1 have not time to tell ^ou why. 
Too then, my Bryan I Mainwanng, you then I 
Is it beeanse I spoke so hastily 
At Allerton ? The Kinf had vexed me. 

r7o<Ae Presbyterians.] Ton I 

— !f ot even yon ? If I five over this. 
The Ein^ is sure to have yonr beads, yon know I 
Bat what if I can't live this minnte through ? 
^m, who is there with his pursuing smile ! 

[Louder cries of" BraAiroaD I " 

He Kin^ ! I troubled him, stood in the way 
Of Ids negotiations, was the one 
Qiest obstaele to peace, the Enemy 
Of Seodand : and ne sent for me, xrom York, 
Mjsaf ety guaranteed — having prepared 
A rarfiament — I see I And at Whitehall 
Hie Qneen was whispering with Vane — I see 
The tiap I {Tearing off the George. 

I tread a gewgaw underfoot. 
And east a memory from me. One stroke, now I 
\HU own AdberantB dUarm him. Renewed cries 

^^»e*™*^ ! I see thy arm in this and yield. 
Piay you now — . rjm. awaits me — pray you 
nowl 

[9surriQBi> reaehes the doors : they open wide. Hjlmp- 
«md a crowd discovered, and, at the tor, Pnc 
oywrf. As STKAnoBD kneels, the scene 



ACT IV 

Beam I. WkUehaU. 

The Kna, tAe Qvaas, Holub, Lady Cablulb. (Yamb, 
BoUtAXD, Savilb, in the background.) 

Ladf Car. Answer them, HoUis, for his 

ake ! One word I 
Cka, [To HoLUS.] Ton stand, silent and 
cola, as though 1 were 
D ecMiliig you — my friend, my playfellow 
Of other times. What wonder aiter all ? 
Jost so, I dieaoied my People loved me. 

Bol. Sir, 

It is youzaelf that you deceive, not me. 
You 11 ^uit me comforted, your mind made up 
That, fluoe vou've talked thus much ana 

grievea thus much, 
An yon ean do for Strafford has been done. 
Qseea. If yon kill Strafford — (come, we 
grant you leave. 

&L 1 may withdraw, sir ? 

ladjf Cctr. Hear them out I 

7ii the last chance for Strafford I Hear them 

_ out! 

m. ''U we kill Strafford"— on the eigh- 
^^ teenA day 
OfSbaffaid's trial- " We I " 
Gk. I^ym, my good HoUis — 



Pym, I should say ! 

Hoi, Ah, true — sir, pardon me I 

You witness our proceedizigB every day ; 
But the screened gallery, i might have guessed, 
Admits of such a partial glimpse at us, 
P^ takes up all the room, shuts out the view. 
Still, on my honor, sir, the rest of the place 
Is not unoccupied. The Commons sit 

— That 's England ; Ireland sends, and Soot- 

land too, 
Their representatives ; the Peers that judge 
Are easily distinguished ; one remarlu 
Tlie People here and there : but the close cur^ 

tarn 
Must hide so much I 

(fueen. Acauaint your insolent crew. 

This day the curtain snail be dashed aside I 
It served a purpose. 

Hoi. Think I This very day? 

Ere Strafford rises to defend himself ? 
Cha, I will defend him, sir ! — sanction the 
past 
This day : it ever was my purpose. Rage 
At me, not Strafford I 

Lady Car, Nobly I — will he not 

Do nobly ? 

Hoi. Sir, you will do honestly : 

And, for that deed, I too would be a king. 
Cha. Only, to do this now I — ** deal " (in 
your style) 
*^ To subjects^ prayers," — I must oppose them 

nowl 
It seems their will the trial should proceed, — 
Sopalpably their will I 

Hoi, You peril much. 

But it were no bright moment save for that. 
Strafford, your prime support, the sole roof- 
tree 
Which props this quaking House of Privil^pe, 
(Flood comes, winds beat, and see — the treach- 
erous sand !) 
Doubtless, if the mere puttin^j^ forth an arm 
Could save him, you *d save Strafford. 

Cka. And they dare 

Consummate cahnly this great wrong I No 

hope? 
This ineffaceable wrong I No pity then ? 
Hoi. No plague in store for perfidy? — 
Farewell I 
You call me, sir — [To Lady Casusue.] You, 

lady, bade me come 
To save toe Earl : I came, thank Gk>d for it. 
To learn how far such perfidy can go I^ 
You, sir, concert with me on saving him 
Who have just ruined Strafford ! 
Cha. I? — andhow? 

Hoi. Eighteen days long he throws, one after 
one, 
Pym*s charges back : a blind moth-eaten law I 

— He '11 break from it at last : and whom to 

thank? 
The moose that gnawed the lion*s net for him 
Got a good friend, — but he, the other mouse, 
That looked on while the lion freed himself — 
Fared he so weU, does any fable say ? 

Cha. What can you mean ? 

Hoi, Pym never could have proved 

Strafford's ilesign m bringing up the troops 



(^ 



STRAFFORD 



To force this kingdom to obedience : Vane — 
Your serrant, not our friend, has proTed it. 

Cha, Vane ? 

HU. This day. Did Vane deliver ap or no 
Those notes which, furnished by his son to Pym, 
Seal Strafford's fate ? 

Cha. Sir, as I live, I know 

Nothing that Vane has done I What treason 

next? 
I wash my hands of it. Vane, speak the tmth ! 
Ask Vane himself I 

Ifo/. I will not speak to Vane, 

Who speak to Pym and Hampden every day. 

Qiie«n. Speak to^ Vanes master then I 
What gain to him 
Were Strafford's death ? 

Hd. Ha ? Strafford cannot turn 

As yon, sir, sit there — bid yon forth, demand 
If every hateful act were not set down 
In his commission ? — whether yon contrived 
Or no, that all the violence shomd seem 
£Qs work, the gentle ways — your own, — his 

part, 
To counteract the King's kind impulses — 
While . . . but you know what he could say I 

And then 
He mu'ht produce — mark, sir I — a certain 

^larse 
To set the King's express command aside, 
If need were, and be blameless. He might 
add . . . 

Cha, Enough! 

H.fA, — Who bade him break the Parlia- 
ment, 
Find some pretence for setting up sword-law I 

O^een. Retire I 

Cha, Once more, whatever Vane dared do, 
I know not : he is rash, a fool — I know 
Nothing of Vane I 

J3b/. ^ Well — I believe yon. Sir, 

Believe me, in return, that . . . 
\Twndng to Lady Carlisle.] Gentle lady^ 
The few words I would say, the stones might 

hear 
Sooner than these, — I rather speak to you, 
Tou, with the heart I The question, trust me, 

takes 
Another shape, to-day : not, if the King 
Or England shaU succumb^ — but, who shall pay 
The forfeit, Strafford or his master. Sir, 
Tou loved me once : think on my warning now I 

Cha, On you and on your warning bol^ I — 
Carlisle! 
That paper! 

Queen, But consider ! 

Cha, Give it me I 

There, signed — will that content you ? Do not 

spnik! 
Tou have betrayed me, Vane I See I any day, 
According to the tenor of that paper. 
He bids vour brother bring the armv up, 
Strafford shall head it ana take full revenge. 
Seek Strafford ! Let him have the same, before 
He rises to defend himnAlf ! 

Queen, In truth ? 

That your shrewd HoUis should have worked a 
change • 



Like this ! Ton, late reluctant • . . 

Cha, Say, Cariisle, 

Tour brother Percy brings the army up^ 
Falls on the Parliament — (I '11 think of jrou, i 
My HoUis !) say, we plotted long — 't is mine, I 
The scheme is mine, remember I Say, I cursed 
Vane's folly in your hearing I If the Earl 
Does rise to do us shame, me &ult shall lie 
With vou, Carlisle ! 

Xooy Car, Nay, fear not me ! but still 

That 's a bright moment, sir. ^ou throw away. 
Tear down the veil and save mm ! 

Queen, Go, Carlisle ! 

Lady Car, (I shall see Strafford — speak to 
him : my heart 
Must never beat so, then I And if I toll 
The truth? What's gained by falsehood? 

There they stand 
Whose trade it is, whose life it is ! How vain 
To gild such rottenness ! Strafford shall know. 
Thoroughly know them I) 

Queen, Trust to me! [To Cabublje.] 

Carlisle, 
Tou seem inclined, alone of all the Court, 
To serve poor Strafford : this bold plan of yonn 
Merits much praise, and yet . . . 

Lady Car, Time presses, madam. 

Queen, Tet — may it not be someUiing pre- 
mature? 
Strafford defends himself to-day — reserves 
Some wondrous effort, one may well suppose ! 

Lady Car, Ay, Hollis hints as mnc^ 

Cha, Why linger then? 

ELaste with the scheme — my scheme : I shall 

be there 
To watoh his look. Tell him I watch his look ! 

Queen, Stay, we '11 precede you ! 

Lady Car, At your pleasure. 

Cha, Say — 

Say, Vane is hardly ever at Whitehall I 
I shall be there, remember I 

Lady Car, Doubt me not. 

Cha. On our return, Carlisle, we wait yoa 
here! 

Lady Car. I 'U bring his answer. Sir, I f cd- 
low you. 
(Prove the King faithless, and I take avray 
All Strafford cares to live for : let it be — 
'T is the E[ing's scheme ! 

My Strafford, I can aave. 
Nay, I have saved you, yet am scarce oantent. 
Because my poor name wiU not cross your mind. 
Strafford, how much I am unworthy you I) 

ScBRS n. A pauage adjoining Wtthninater HaiL. 

Many groups of Spectators of the Jrta/. OfBoeia qf ihe 

Courts etc. 

1st Stmc. More crowd than ever ! Not 
Hampden, man ? 



That 's he, by Pym, Pym that is speaking' tkorw 
No, truly, if you look so high you^U see 

Stey: Pym's 



Little enough of either ! 

2rf Spec, 
Points like a prophet's rod. 

3<f Spec, Ay, ay, we 've heard. 

Some pretty speaking : yet the £^ul escapes. 

4<A Spec, I fear it : just a foolish word or 



^ 



STRAFFORD 



67 



About hb ehildien — and we see, fonooih, 
Not fiqpbiid^s foe in Strafford, but the man 
WlM>,aek, half-blind . . . 

2rf Spec. What 's that Pym 'a simng now 
WUeh makes the enrtaina flutter? look I A 

band 
autdiMihem. Ah! The King's hand I 

SikSpK. Ihadthonsht 

Pym was not near so tall. What said ne, 
friend? 

2d Spec, **Nor is this way a novel way of 

And the Earl turns as if to . . . Look ! look ! 

Hany Spectators. There I 

Wbit aib nim ? No — he rallies, see — goes on. 
And Strafford smiles. Strange I 

A» Officer, Haselrig ! 

Mansf Spectators, Friend? Friend? 

Tie Officer. Lost, utterly lost: just when 
ve looked for rjm. 
To make a stand against the ill effects 
Of the Eari^sspeeon ! Is Haselrig without ? 
^m'l menage is to him. 

3tf Spec, Now, said I true ? 

Win the Eazl leave them yet at fault or no ? 

UtSpee, Never believe it, man I These 
notes of Vane's 
BamtkeEail. 

SA Spec, A brave end : not a whit 

LeBfinn, less Pym all over. Then, the trial 
u doeed. No — Strafford means to speak 
Bgam? 

ie Officer, Stand back, there I 

Sti Spec, Why, the Earl is coming hither I 
oekn the court breaks up I His brother, 

Vwk,- 
Ton 'd say he 'd deprecated some fierce act 
Ib Stafford's mina just now. 

M Officer, Stand back, I say ! 

^ Spec. Who 's the veiled woman that he 
talks with? 

Vmqf Spectators. Hush — 
Hie Esri! the Earl! 
[A<er BfRinoBD, Blxhcwbt, aful other Secretaries, 

Bouo, Lady Gaujblb, Haxwbll, Balvouk, etc. 

BmiffOBD eenver»e» with Lady Cabubul 

Bd. So near the end I Be patient — 

netm! 
^Nf. [To his Secretaries.] Here — any- 



vhoe 



— or. 



't is freshest here I 



lo^Kod one's April here, the blossom-month : 
Set It damn here I 

[,They arrange a tdble^ papers^ etc, 

^ So. Pym can quail, can cower 

gMtme I glance at nim, yet more 's to do. 
Ww'i to be answered, Shngsby ? Let us end I 
\To Lady Cakobxa.] Child, I refuse his offer ; 

whatsoe'er 
u be ! Too late I TeU me no word of him I 
]Tii lome^ii^, HoUis, I assure ^ou that — 
]^>tand, rick as you are, some eighteen days 
^pting far life ajid fame aeainst a pack 
jfjny enis, that lie throucn thick and thin, 
J^weh and bread by wholesale, and can't say 

^bafford " if it would take my life ! 
gfrrfy Car, Be moved I 

'^ee at the -^Kper \ 

^/. Already at my heels ! 



Pym's faulting bloodhounds scent the track 

again. 
Peace, child ! Now, Slingsby I 

[MeaaengBrB from Laxs and other o/Btkawwgkd^b Conn- 
eel teUhin the Hall are coming and going during the 
Scene. 

Strqf, [setting himself to write and dictate,] 

I shall beat you, Hollis ! 
Do you know that ? In smte of St. John's tricks. 
In spite of Pym — your I*ym who shrank frcon 

me I 
£3iot would have contrived it otherwise. 
[To a Messenger. jl In truth? This slip, tell 

Lane, contains as much 
As I can call to mind about the matter. 
Eliot would have disdained . . . 
[Calling after the Messenger.] And Raddiffe, 

say. 
The only person who could answer Pjym, 
Is safe in prison, just for that. 

Well, wen I 
It had not been recorded in that case, 
I bEiffled you. 
[To Lady Cabuslb.] Kay, child, why look so 

gneved ? 
All 's gained without the King I You saw Pym 

quail? 
What shall I do when they acquit me, think 

you. 
But tranquilly resume my task as though 
Nothing had mtervened since I proposed 
To call that traitor to account ! Such tricks. 
Trust me, shall not be played a second time. 
Not even against Laud, with his gray hair — 
Your good work, Hollis I Peace I To make 

amends. 
You, Lucy, shall be here when I impeach 
Pym and nis fellows. 

Hoi. Wherefore not protest 

Against our whole proceeding, long ago ? 
Why feel indignant now ? Why stand this while 
ihiauring patiently ? 

8irqf. Child, I 'U tell you — 

You, and not Pym — you, the slight graceful girl 
Tall for a flowering hly, and not HoUis — 
Why I stood patient ! I was fool enough 
To see the will of England in Pym's wm ; 
To fear, myself had wronged her, and to wait 
Her judgment : when, behold, in place of it . . . 
[To a Messenger who whisj>er8.'\ Tell Lane to 

answer no such question I Law, — 
I jgTapi>le with their law I I 'm here to try 
My actions by their standard, not my own ! 
Their law allowed that levy : what 's the rest 
To Pym, or Lane, any but God and me ? 
Lady Car. The King's so weak! Secure 

this chance ! 'T was Vane, 
Never f ox^[et, who furnished Pym the notes . . . 
StrcJ'. Fit, — very fit, those precious notes 

of Vane, 
To close the Trial worthily ! I feared 
Some spice of nobleness might linger yet 
And spoil the character of all the past. 
Vane eased me . . . and I will go oack and say 
As much — to Pym, to England I Follow me, 
I have a word to say I There, my defence 
Is done I 

Stay I why be proud ? Why care to own 



68 



STRAFFORD 



"hiy gladness, my snipxiBe ? — Nay, not snrpriBe I 

Wherefore insist upon the little pride 

Of doing all myself, and sparing him 

The pain ? Chud, sav the triumph is my King's I 

When Pym grew pale, and trembled, and sank 

down, 
One image was before me : oould I fail ? 
Child, oare not for the past, so indistinct, 
Obscure — there *s nothmg to forgive in it, 
'T is so forgotten I From this da^ begins 
A new life, founded on a new behef 
In Charles. 

Hoi. In Charles ? Rather believe in Fjrm 1 
And here he comes in proof I Appeal to Pym ! 
Say how unfair ... 

Strcjf, To Pym ? I would say nothing t 

I would not look upon Pym's face again. 

Ladj/ Car. Stay, let me have to think I 
pressed your hand I 

ISiTRAFWOBD ottd hit Frioiida go out. 
{Enter Hampdih and VAin.) 

Vane. O Hampden, save the great misguided 
manl 
Plead Strafford's cause with Pym I I have re- 
marked 
He moved no muscle when we all declaimed 
Against him: you had but to breathe — he turned 
Those kind calm eyes upon you. 
lEnter Pnc, the 8olicitor-G«Dend Bt. Johh, the Mmmot 
mm of the Trial, Fibmhsb, Rudtahd, etc. 
Rud. Horrible I 

Till now all hearts were with you : I withdraw 
For one. Too horrible ! But we mistake 
Your purpose, Pym : you cannot snatch away 
The last spar from the drowning man. 

Fien. He talks 

With St. John of it — see, how quietly ! 
[To other Presbyterians.] Ton 'U join us? 

Strafford may deserve the worst : 
But this new oouise is monstrous. Vane, take 

heart! 
This Bill of his Attainder shall not have 
One true man's hand to it. 

Vane. Consider, Pym ! 

Confront your Bill, your own Bill : what is 

it? 
You cannot catch the Earl on anv charge, — 
No man wUl say the law has hold of him 
On any charge ; and therefore you resolve 
To take the general sense on his desert, 
As though no law existed, and we met 
To found one. You refer to Parliament 
To speak its thought upon the abortive mass 
Of half-bome-out assertions, dubious bints 
Hereafter to be cleared, distortions — ay. 
And wild inventions. Every man is saved 
The task of fixing any single charge 
On Strafford : he has but to see in nim 
The enemy of England. 

Pym. A right scruple I 

I have heard some called England's enemy 
With less consideration. 

Vane. Pity me I 

Indeed you make me think i was your friend 1 
I who have murdered Strafford, how remove 
That memory from me ? 

Pym. I absolve you. Vane. 

Take you no care for aught that you have done I 



Vane. John Hampden, not this Bill I Re- 
ject this Bill I 
He staggers through the ordeal : let him go. 
Strew no fresh fire before him ! Plead for ns ! 
When Strafford spoke, your eyes were thick 
with tears! 
Hamp. England speaks louder: who are we, 
to play 
The generous pardoner at her expense, 
Magnanimously waive advantages. 
Ana, if he conquer us, applaud his skill ? 
Vane. He was your mend. • 
Py^' I have heard that before. 

Fien. And England trusts you.^ 
Hamp. Shame oe his, who turns 

The opportunity of serving her 
She tniBts him with, to his own mean aooount — 
Who would look nobly frank at her expense ! 
Fien. ^ I never thought it could have oome to 

this. 
Pym. But I have made myself familiar, 
Fiennes, 
With this one thought — have walked, and sat, 

and slept. 
This thought before me. I have done snoh 

things. 
Being the chosen man that should destroy 
The traitor. You have taken up this thought 
To play with, for a g^entle stimulant, 
To give a dignity to idler life 
By the dim^ prospect of emprise to come, 
But ever with the softening, sure belief. 
That all would end some strange way right at 
last. 
Fien. Had we made out some weightier 

charge! 
Pym, You say 

That these are petty charges : can we come 
To the real charge at all ? There he is safe 
In tynumjr's stronghold. Apostasy 
Is not a crime, treachery not a crime : 
The cheek bums, the blood tingles, when yoa 

speak 
The words, but where 's the power to take re- 
venge 
Upon them ? We must make occasion aerre, — 
The oversight shall pay for the main sin 
That mocks us. 

Rud. But this unexampled oonrae. 

This Bill ! 

Pym. By this, we roll the clouds away 

Of precedent and custom, and at once 
Bid the great beacon-light Qod sets in all. 
The conscience of each bosom, shine upon 
The guilt of Strafford : each man lay his hand 
Upon his breast, and judge ! 

Vane. I only see 

Strafford, nor pass his corpse for all beycmd I 
Rud. and others. Foreive him I He would 
join US} now he finds 
What the King counts reward I The pardon, 

too. 
Should be your own. Yourself should bear to 

Strafford 
The pardon of the Commons. 

Pym. Meet him? Strafford? 

Have we to meet once more, then ? Be it so ! 
And yet — the prophecy seemed half fulfilled 



STRAFFORD 



69 



Wlien, at the Trial, as be gazed, my yonih. 
Oar fnendahip, diyers thouglits came back at 

once 
And left me, for a tone ... 'T is very sad I 
To-moROw we disonss the points of hiw 
With Idne — to-moirow ? 

Vane, Not before to-morrow — 

So, time enough I I knew yon wonld relent I 

rym. The next day, Haselrig, von mtrodnce 
Hie Bill of his Attainder. Ptay for me I 

Scan m. WkUsKalL 
TkB Kne. 

do. My loral servant I To defend himself 
lliiia inemstibly, — withholding anght 
That seemed to implicate ns ! 

We have done 
Lob gallantly by Strafford. Well, the future 
Mini recompense the past. 

She tarries long. 
I ■nderstand you, Strafford, now I 

The scheme — 
Csriiflle^s mad scheme — he H sanction it, I fear, 
?or lore of me. 'T was too precipitate : 
Before the army 's fairly on its march. 
Hell beat large : no matter. 

Well, Carlisle? 
{SrUer Pm.) 

Pjna. Fear me not, sir: — my mission is to 

imumBn 

Cka. To break thus on me I unannounced I 

Pmb. It is of Strafford I would speak. 

Cm. No more 

Of Strafford! I have heard too much from 
you. 

Pffm. I spoke, sir, for the People ; will you 
hear 
A word upon my own account ? 

Cka. Of Strafford? 

(So tuns the tide already ? Have we tamed 
the insolent Brawler ? — Strafford ^s elo(]|uence 
Is swift in its effect.) Lord Strafford, sir. 
Has spoken for himself. 

Pyai. Sufficiently. 

I wwdd apprise yon of the novel course 
The People take : the Trial fails. 

Cha* Yes, yes : 

We are aware, ear : for your nart in it 
MeaoB shall be found to thanK you. 

Pyw. Pray you, read 

This schedule ! I would learn from your own 

mouth 
— (It is a matter much concerning me) — 
Whether, if two Estates of us concede 
'Hie death of Straffcntl, on the ji^unds set forth 
^JHthin that parchment, you, sir, can resolve 
To grant your own consent to it. This Bill 
Is Domed by me. If you determine, sir, 
That E^Iand*8 manifested will should guide 
Tonr jw^ment, ere another week such will 
SbJl mamfest itself. If not, — I cast 
Aade the measure. 

^Cla. You can hinder, then, 

^io^odnetion of this Bill? 

Pm. lean. 



Cha. He is my friend, sir : I have wronged 
him : mark you, ^ 
Had I not wronged him, this might be. You 

think 
Because you hate the Earl . . . (turn not away, 
We know you hate him) — no one else could love 
Strafford : but he has saved me, some affirm. 
Think of his pride I And do you know one 

strange. 
One frightful thing ? We all have used the man 
As though a drudge of ours, with not a source 
Of happv thoughts exoei>t in us ; and yet 
Strafford has wife and children, household cares, 
Just as if we had never been. Ah, sir. 
You are moved, even you, a solitaiy man 
Wed to your cause — to England if you will I 

Pym. Yes — think, my soul — to England ! 
Draw not back ! 

Cha. Prevent that Bill, sir I All your course 
seems f fur 
TUl now. Why. in the end^t is I should sign 
The warrant for nis death I You have said much 
I ponder on ; I never meant, indeed, 
Strafford should serve me any more. I take 
Tlie Commons' counsel ; but this Bill is yours — 
Nor worthy of its leader : care not, sir, 
For that, however I I will quite forget 
You named it to me. You are satisfied ? 

Pym. Listen to me, sir I Eliot laid his hand. 
Wasted and white, upon my forehead once ; 
Wentworth — he 's gone now ! — has talked on, 

whole nights, 
And I beside bun ; Hampden loves me: sir. 
How can I breathe and not wish England well. 
And her King well ? 

Cka. I thank you, sir, who leave 

•That King his servant. Thanks, sir ! 

^^m. Let me speak I 

— Who may not speak again ; whose spirit yearns 
For a cool night after this wearv day : ^ 

— Who would not have my soul turn sicker yet 
In a new task, more fatal, more august. 
More full of England's utter weal or woe. 

I thought, sir, could I find m3rself with yon. 

After this trial, alone, as man to man — 

I might say something, warn you, pray you, 

save — 
Mark me. King CharlM, save — you I 
But God must do it. Yet I warn you, sir — 
(With Strafford's faded eyes yet full on me) 
As von would have no deeper question moved 

— How lonpr the Many must endure the One, 
Assure me, sir, if England g^ve assent 

To Strafford's death, you mU not interfere I 
Or — 

Cha. God forsakes me. I am in a net 
And cannot move. Let all be as you say I 
{Enter Lady Gabuslk.^ ^ 
Lady Car. He loves you — looking beautiful 

with joy 
Because you sent me I he would spare vou all 
The pain ! he never dreamed you would forsake 
Your servant in the evil day — nay, see 
Your scheme returned I That generous heart 

of his ! 
He needs it not — or, needing it, disdains 
A course that might endanger you — you, sir, 
Whom Strafford from his inmost soul . . . 



»> 



^o 



STRAFFORD 



[SttJino Pym.] " Well met 1 

No fear n>r Strafford I All that 'b true and brave 
On your own aide ^lall help ns : we are now 
Stronger than ever. 

Ha— what, sir, is this? 
All 18 not well I What parchment have you 
there? 

Tym, Sir, much is saved us both. 

Lady Car, This £01 1 Your lip 

Whitens — you oould not read one line to me 
Your voice would falter so I 

Pym, No recreant yet ! 

The neat word went imm England to my soul, 
And I arose. The end is very near. 

Lady Car. I am to save him I All have 
shrunk beside ; 
'T is only I am left. Heaven will make strong 
The hand now as the heart. Then let both die ! 



ACT V 

Sens L Whitehall 
Hoixn, Lady Gabliblb. 

JETq/. Tell the King then I Come in with me ! 
Lady Car. ^ Not so ! 

He must not hear till it succeeds. 

Hoi. Succeed ? 

No dream was half so vain — you 'd rescue Straf- 
ford 
And outwit Pym I I cannot tell you . . . lady, 
The blodL pursues me, and the hideous show. 
To-day ... is it to-day ? And all the while 
He *s sure of the King's p«tfdon. Think, I have 
To tell this man he is to die. The King 
May rend his hair, for me I I 'U not see Straf-. 
ford 
Lady Car. Only, if I succeed, remember — 
Charles 
Has saved him. He would hardly value life 
Unless his gift. My stanch friends wait. Go in — 
Yon must go in to Charles I 

Hoi. And aU beside 

Left Strafford long ago. The King has signed 
The warrant for his death I the Queen was 

sick 
Of the eternal subject. For the Court, — 
The Trial was amusing in its wa^. 
Only too much of it : the Earl wimdrew 
In tune. But you, fragile, alone, so young, 
Amid rude mercenaries — yon devise 
Apian to save him I Even though it fails, 
What shall reward you I 

Lady Car. ^ I may go, you think. 

To Fxanoe with him? And you reward me, 

friend. 
Who lived with Strafford even from his youth 
Before he set his heart on state-affairs 
And they bent down that noble brow of his. 
I have learned somewhat of his latter life. 
And all the future I shall know : but, Hollis, 
I onght to make his ^outh my own as well. 
Tell me, — when he is saved f 

Hoi. My gentle friend. 

He should know all and love you, but 'tis vain I 
Lady Car. Love ? no — too late now I Let 
him love the King I 



'Tis the King's scheme I I have your word, 
remember I 

We '11 keep the old delusion up. But, <;^uick ! 

Quick I Each of us has work to do, beside I 

Go to the King I I hope — Hollis — I hope I 

Say nothing of my scheme! Hush, while we 
speak 

Think where he is I Now for my gallant friends ! 
Hoi. Where he is ? Calling wildly upon 
Charles, 

Gruessinghis fate, pacing the prison-floor. 

Let the King tell him I I '11 not look on Straf- 
ford. 

Scans n. The Tower. 

SraAWORD tiaing with Ai« Children. They aing. 

Obell'andare 
Per barca in mare. 
Verso la aeza 
Di PrimaTera ! 

AndanU. 




ObeiraD-da-re,Perbar-ca in 



mt^M 




ma -re, Ver-so la se-ra, Dl pri-ma- 




ve - ra, O bell' an - da - re, 
alentando e dimintiendo. 




William.. ^ The boat 's in the broad moonliglit 
all this while — 



Verso la aera 
Di Primavera t 



And the boat shoots &om underneath the moan 
Into the shadowy distance ; only still 
You hear the dipping oar — 

Verso la sera. 

And faint, and fainter, and then all 's quite gone. 
Music and light and all, like a lost star. 



Anne. But you should sleep, father 
were to sleep. 



you 



Strc^. I do sleep, Anne ; or if not — yon must 
know 
There 's such a thing as . . . 



STRAFFORD 



71 



WU, You 're too tired to sleep ? 

Straf, It win oome by-and-by and all day long, 
In that old qniet house I told you of : 
We sleep safe there. 

Anme. Why not in Ireland ? 

Straf. No I 

Too many dreazna ! — That song ^s for Venice, 

^^Jliam: 
Ton know how Venice looks upon the map — 
laies that the mainland hardly can let go ? 

Wil. You Ve been to Vemce, father ? 

Straf. I was young, then. 

Wif. AcitrwithnoKing; that ^s why I like 
Even a aong that oomea from Venice. 

Straf. William? 

Wif. Oh, I know why ! Anne, do you love 
theXW? 
But 1 11 see \^nioe for myself one day. 

Strttf. See many lands, boy — England last 
ofaJl,- 
Tbat way you 'U Ioto her best. 

Wil. Why do men say 

ToQ songlit to ruin her, then ? 

Straf. Ah, — they say that. 

Wa. Wby? 

Straf. I suppose they must have words to say, 
As Ton to sing. 

Anme. But they make songs beside : 

Last iQBjkt I heard one, in the street beneath, 
Unt eaJled yon . . . Oh, the names 1 

Wil, Don't mind her, father ! 

Hiey soon left off when I cried out to them. 

Straf. We shall so soon be out of it. my b<^ I 
Tis not worth while: who heeds a foolish soi^ ? 

Wa. Why, not the £:ing. 

Stntf. Well : it has been the fate 

Of better ; and yet, — wherefore not feel sure 
That Time, who in the twilight comes to mend 
AH the fantastic day's caprice, consign 
To the low ground onoe more the ignoble Term, 
And raise tne Genius on his orb again, — 
Hat Hme will do me right ? 

Ante. (Shall we sing. William ? 

He does not look thus when we singJ 

Straf TorlreLuid, 

Somethiag is done : too little, but enough 
To show what mis^t have been. 

W*l. (I have no heart 

To uigiiDw ! Anne, how very sad he looks I 
Oh, I so bate the King for all ne says I) 

Stntf. Forsook them? What, the common 
tongs willrun 
Hiat I fonook the People ? Nothing more ? 
Ay, Fame, the busy sonoe, will pause, no doubt. 
Tuning a deaf ear to her thousand slaTcs 
Koisy to be enrolled, — will r^pster 
^iecnrions glasses, subtle notices, 
ugenious elearu^^up one fain would see 
Mide that plain inscription of The Name — 
T!m Patriot Pym, or the Apostate Strafford ! 
[St ClilUlren resume their song timidly^ hut break off. 
(Enter Hoixn and an Attendant.) 

&Y. No,-~Holli8? ingood timel — Who 

^ ishe? 

Bat One 

T1^ most be present, 
-^qf. Ah — I understand. 

^'^ win not let me see poor Laud alone. 



How politic I Thej *d use me by degrees 

To solitude : and, just as you came in, 

I was solicitous what life to lead 

When Strafford ^s *' not so much as Constable 

In the Eling^s service." Is there any means 

To keep one^s self awake ? What would you do 

After tnis bustle, HoUis, in my place ? 

Hoi. Strafford! 

Straf. Observe, not but that Pym and you 
Will find me news enough — news I shall hear 
Under a quince-tree by a fish-pond side 
At Wentworth. Garrard must be re-engaged 
My newsman. Or, a better proiect now — 
Wnat if when all 's consummated, and the Saints 
Reign,^ and the Senate's work goes swim- 

What if! venture up, some day, unseen. 

To saunter through the Town, notice how Pym, 

Your Tribune, likes Whitehall, drop quietly 

Into a tavern, hear a point discussed. 

As, whether Strafford's name were John or 

James — 
And be myself appealed to — I, who shall 
Myself have near forgotten ! 
ilol. I would speak . . . 

Straf. Then you shall speak, — not now. I 
want just now. 
To hear the sound of my own tongue. This 

place 
Is full of ghosts. 
Hoi. Nay, yon must hear me, Strafford I 

Strcf. Oh, readily I Only, one rare thing 
more, — 
The minister I Who will advise the King, 
Turn Ids Sejanus, Richelieu and what not, 
And yet have heallJi — children, for aught I 

know — 
My patient pair of traitors ! Ah, — but, Wil- 
liam — 
Does not his cheek grow thin ? 

Wil. 'Tis you look thin. 

Father I 

Straf. A scamper o'er the breezy wolds 
Sets aU to-rights. 

,Hol. You cannot sure forget 

A prison-roof is o'er yon, Strafford ? 

Str<nf. No, 

Why, no. I would not touch on that, the first. 
I left you that. Well,Hollis? Say at once. 
The King can find no time to set me free ! 
A mask at Theobald's ? 

H<A. Hold : no such affair 

Detains him. 

Straf. True : what needs so great a matter ? 
The Queen's lip may be sore. Well : when he 

pleases, — 
Onlv, I want the air : it vexes flesh 
To be pent up so long. 

Hoi. The King — I bear 

His message, Strafford : pray you, let me speak f 
Strof, Go, William I Anne, try o'er your 
song again ! 

iThe Ghfldren retire. 

They shall be loyal, friend, at all events. 
I know your message : you have nothii^ new 
To tell me : from tne first I guessed as much. 
I know, instead of coming here himself, 
Leading me forth in pubUc by the hand. 



72 



STRAFFORD 



The Kine nref ere to leave the door ajar 
As thon^ I were escaping — bids me trudge 
While the mob gapes upon some show prepared 
On the oUier sioe of the river I Give at onoe 
His order of release I I 've heard, as well. 
Of certain poor man<Buyres to avoid 
The granting pardon at his proper risk ; 
Fint, he must prattle somewhat to the Lords, 
Must talk a trifle with the Commons firet, 
Be grieved I should abuse his oonfidenoe. 
Ana far from blaming them, and . . . Where's 

the order ? 
Hot, Spare me I 

Siraf, Why, he 'd not have me steal away ? 
With an old doublet and a steeple hat 
Like Prynne^s? Be smuggled into France, 

perhaps ? 
Hollis, 't is for my children ! *T was for them 
I first consented to stand day by day 
And give your Puritans the best of words. 
Be patient, speak when called upon, observe 
Their rules, and not return them prompt their 

lie I 
What 's in that boy of mine that he should prove 
Son to a prison-breaker ? I shall stay 
And he 'U stay with me. Charles should know 

as much. 
He too has children ! 
[Turning to Hoij[Js's compani(m.'\ Sir, you 

feel for me ! 
No need to hide that face! Though it have 

looked 
Upon me from the judgmentHseat ... I know 
Strangely, that somewhere it has looked on 

me . . . 
Your coming has my pardon, nay, my thanks : 
For there is one who comes not. 

Hot, Whom forgive, 

As one to die I 

Straf. True, all die, and all need 

Fonriveness : I forgive him from my soul. 
Ilol, 'T is a wond's wonder : Strafford, you 

must die! 
Siraf. Sir, if your errand is to set me free 
This hefutless jest mare much. Ha ! Teara in 

truth? 
We 'n end this ! See this paper, warm — feel 

— warm ^^ 

With lying next my heart I Whose hand is 

there? 
Whose promise ? Read, and loud for God to 

hear! 
**' Strafford shall take no hurt " — read it, I say ! 
** In person, honor, nor estate " — 
HoL The King . . . 

Strc^f. I could unking him by a breath! 

You sit 
Where Loudon sat, who came to prophesy 
The certain end, and offer me Pym's grace 
If I M renounce the King : and I stood firm 
On the King^s faith. The King who lives . . . 
Hoi, To sign 

The warrant for your death. 

Strcif, ** Put not your trust 

In princes, neither in the sons of men. 
In whom is no salvation ! " 

Hoi. Trust in God ! 

The scaffold is prepared : they wait for you : 



He has consented. Cast the earth behind ! 
Cha. You would not see me, Strafford, at 
your foot ! 
It was wrung &om me ! Only, curse me not I 
Hoi. [To Stbaffobd.] As you hope grace 
and pardon in your need. 
Be merdful to this most wretched man. 

[Voices /ivmttithin. 

Verao la sera 
Di Primavera. 

Strc^f. You '11 be good to those children, sir? 

Iknow \ 

You 'U not believe her, even should the Queen 
Think they take after one they rarely saw. 
I had intended that my son should live 
A stranger to these mattere : but you are 
So utterly deprived of friends ! He too 
Must serve you — will you not be good to him ? 
Or, stay, sir, do not promise — do not swear ! 
You, Hollis — do the best you can for me ! 
I 've not a soul to trust to : Wandesford *8 dead, 
And you Ve got Radcliffe safe, Laud's tun 

comes next : 
I 've found small time of late for my affairs. 
But I trust any of you, Pym himself — 
No one could hurt them : there 's an in&nt, 

too,^ — 
These tedious cares ! Your Majesty could aptOK 

them. 
Nay — pardon me, my King ! I had forgotten 
Your education, trials, much temptation. 
Some weakness : there escaped a peevish 

word — 
'T is gone : I bless you at the last. You know 
All 's between you mid me : what has tiie world 
To do with it? FareweU! 
Cha. [at the door.] Balfour! Balfour! 

{Enter Balfocb.) 
The Parliament ! — go to them : I grant all 
Demands. Their sittings shall be permanent : 
TeU them to keep their money if they will : 
I 'U come to them for every coat I wear 
And every crust I eat : only I choose 
To pardon Strafford. As the Queen shall 

choose ! 
— You never heard the People howl for blood. 
Beside ! 

Bdlfovar. Your Majesty may hear them now : 
The waUs can hardly keep their murmurs out : 
Please you retire ! 
Cha. Take all the troops, Balfour ! 

Bal. There are some hundred thousand of 

the crowd. 
Cha. Come with me, Strafford ! Yon 11 not 

fear, at least ! 
Straf. Balfour, say nothing to the world of 

this! 
I charge yon, as a dying man, forget 
You gazed upon this i^ony of one . "t . 
Of one . . . or if . . . why, you may say, Bal- 
four, 
The King was sorry : 't is no shame in him : 
Yes, you may say he even wept, Balfour, 
And that I walked the lighter to the block 
Because of it. I shall walk lightly, sir I 
Earth fades, heaven breaks on me : I shall 

stand next 



STRAFFORD 



73 



Mon God*8 thione : the moment 's olose at 

hand 
WbeB man the first, last time, has leave to lay 
Hk vhole heart bare before its Maker, leave 
To dear up the long error of a life 
And choose one happiness for evermore. 
With aU mortality about me, Charles, 
The sadden wreck, the dregs of violent death — 
What if, despite the opening angel-soner. 
There penetrate one prayer for you ? oe saved 
Iluoagh me I Bear -witness, no one oould pre- 
vent 
My death! Lead on! ere he awake — best, 

now! 
An must be ready : did you say, Balfour, 
The erowd began to murmur? They'll be 

kept 
Too late for sermon at St. Antholin's I 
Now ! But tread softly — children are at play 
la the next room. Precede ! I follow — 
(Enter Lady Casubls, uHiA many AttenduitB.) 
Lady Car. Me I 

FoUdw me, Strafford, and be saved! The 

King? 
[To tke Kino.] Well — ss yon ordered, they 

are ranged without. 
The convoy . . . [seeing the Kino's state,] 
[lo Strafford.] Tou know all, then I Why, 

I thought 
It looked beeit that the King should save you, 

— Charles 
Akoe; His a shame that you should owe me 

aqght. 
Or no, not shame ! Strafford, you '11 not feel 



At being saved by me ? 

Hd. All true! Oh Strafford. 

She nves yon ! all her deed I this lady's deed I 
And is the boat in readiness ? You, triend. 
Are Billiogsley, no doubt. Speak to her, 

Strafford! 
See how she trembles, waiting for your voice ! 
Tke world 's to learn its bravest story yet. 

Lady Car, Talk aftoward I Long nights 
^ m France enough. 
To at beneath the vines and talk of home. 

Straf. Ton love me, child ? Ah, Strafford 
eaabe loved 
As wdl ss Yane ! I oould escape, then ? 

Lady Car, Haste ! 

Advance the torches, Bryan ! 

Sira/. I will die. 

Hiey eafl me proud : but England had no right. 
When she encountered me — her strength to 



To find the chosen foe a craven. Girl, 

I UnAi her to the utterance, I fell,^ 

Iinliers now, and I will die. Beside, 

^he lookeis-on ! £3iot is all about 

^■B nUee, with his most uncomplaining brow. 

lady Car, Strafford! 

&u/. I think if yon could know how much 
Imejoa, you would be repaid, my friend ! 

Lsay (abt. Then, for my sake ! 

Aba/'. Even for your sweet sake, 



'%. 



9t9f, 



For their /ake ! 



To bequeath a stain ? 



Leave me I Girl, humor me and let me die ! 
Lady Car, Bid him escape — wake, King! 

Bid him escape ! 
Strc^^ True, I will go I Die and forsake the 

I *]1 not draw back from the last service. 

Lady Car, Strafford ! 

Straf, And, after alhwhat is disgrace to me ? 
Let us come, child ! That it should end this 

way ! 
Lead then ! but I feel strangely : it was not 
To end this way. 

Lady Car, Leim — lean on me ! 

Straf, ^ ^ My King! 

Oh, had he trusted me — his finend of friends ! 

Lady Car. I can support him, Hollis I 

Straf, ^ Not this way! 

This gate — I dreamed of it, this very gate. 

Lady Car. It opens on the river : oar good 
boat 
Is moored below, our friends are there. 

Strc^f, ^ The same : 

Only with something ominous and dark, 
Fatal, inevitable. '. 

l.ady Car. 'Strafford ! Strafford ! 

Straf. Not by this gate! I feel what will 
be there! 
I dreamed of it, I tell you : touch it not ! 

Lady Car, To save the King, — Strafford, 
to save the King ! 
[At STEAvrosD opens the door, Pn is discovered with 

Hajstdbm, VaxUj etc. Stravtokd /etils back : Pn 

/oUows slowly and confronts him. 

Pym. Have I done well ? Speak, England ! 

Whose sole sake 
I still have labored for, with disregard 
To my own heart, — for whom my youth was 

made 
Barren, my manhood wsste, to offer up 
Her sacrince — this friend, this Wentworth 

here — 
Who walked in youth with me, loved me, it 

may be, 
And whom, for his forsaking England's cause, 
I hunted by all means (trustmg that she 
Would sanctify aU means) even to l^e block 
Which waits for him. And sajring this, I 

feel 
No bitterer pang than first I felt, the hour 
I swore that Wentworth raiflrht leave us, but I 
Would never leave him : I do leave him now. 
I render up inv charge (be witness, God !) 
To England who imposed it. I have done 
Her biddinp: — poorly, wrongly, — it may be. 
With ill effects — for I am weak, a man : 
Still, I have done my best, my human best. 
Not falterixig for a moment. It is done. 
And this said, if I say . . . yes, I will say 
I never loved but one man — David not 
More Jonathan I Even thus, I love him now : 
And look for my chief portion in that world 
Where great hearts led astray are turned again, 
(Soon it niay be, and, certes, will be soon : 
My mission over, I shall not live lone:,) — 
Ay, here I know I talk — I dure ana must. 
Of England, and her great reward, as all 
I look for there ; but in my inmost heart. 
Believe, I think of stealing quite away 



74 



SORDELLO 



To walk onoe more with Wentwozih — my 

youth^B friend 
Puxvea from all error, gloriondr renewed. 
Ana £3Kot shall not blame ns. Tnen indeed . . . 
This 18 no meeting, WentworthI Tears in- 
crease 
Too hot. Athinmist — is it blood? — enwraps 
The face I loyed onoe. Then, the meeting be I 
Strqf. I have loved England too ; we '11 meet 

then, I^jrm ; 
As well die now I Youth is the only time 
To think and to decide on a great oonrse : 
Manhood with action follows ; but 'tis dreary 
To have to alter our whole life in age — 
The time past, the strength gone ! As well die 

now. 
When we meet, Pym, I 'd be set right — not 

now I 
Best die. Then if there 's any fault, fault too 
Dies, smothered up. Poor gray old little Laud 
May dream his dream out, of a perfect Church, 
In some blind corner. And there 's no one 

left. 
I trust the King now wholly^ you, Pym I 
And yet, I know not : I shall not be there : 
fiends fail — if he have any. And he 's weak. 
And loves the Queen, and . . . Oh, my fate is 

nothing — 
Nothing I But not that awful head — not that I 
Pym, If England shall declare such will to 

me . . . 
Straf, F)rm, you help England I I, that am 

to die, 
What I must seel 'tis here — all here! My 

God, 
Let me but ^lasp out, in one word of fire, 
How thou wilt plagrue him, satiating hell ! 



What? England that you help, become through 

you 

A green and putrefying chamel, left 
Our children . . . some of us have children, 

PVm — 
Some who, without that, still must ever wesr 
A darkened brow, an oveivserious look. 
And never properly be voung I No word ? 
What if I curse yon? Send a strong cuzae 

forth 
Clothed from my heart, lapped round with hor> 

ror till 
She 's fit with her white face to walk the world 
Scaring kind natures from your cause and yon — 
Then to sit down with you at the board-head. 
The gathering for prayer . . . O speak, but 

speak! 
. . . Creep up, and quietly follow each one home, 
You, you, you, be a nestung care for each 
To sleep with, — hardly moaning in his dreams. 
She gnaws so quietly, — till, lo he starts, 
Gets off with half a heart eaten away I 
Oh, shall you 'scape with less if she 's my child ? 
You will not say a word — to me — to Him ? 
Pym. If England shall declare such will to 

me . . . 
8tr({f, No, not for England now, not for 

Heaven now, — 
See, Pym, for mv sake, mine who kneel to joa I 
There, I will tnank you for the death, my 

^ friend ! 
Tliis is the meeting: let me love you well ! 
Pym. England, — I am thine own I Dost 

thou exact 
That service ? I obey thee to the end. 
Strcif. OGod,IshaU die first — I shall die 

first I 



SORDELLO 



Bbowmino began SordeUo in 1837, inter- 
rupted his work to write the earlier parts of 
Bells and Pomegranates^ but resumed it and 
completed it in 1840, when it was published by 
Moxon. In 1863, when reprinting the poem. 
Browning dedicated it as below to M. Milsand, 
and in his dedication wrote practically a pre- 
fece to the poem. 

TO J. MILSAND, OF DIJON 

Dbab Fblend, — Let the next poem be in- 
troduced by your name, therefore remembered 
along with one of the deepest of my affections, 
and so repay all trouble it ever cost me. I wrote 
it twenty-five years ago for only a few, counting 
even in these on somewhat more care about its 
subject than they reaUy had. My own faults of 
expression were many ; but with care for a man 



or book such would be surmounted, and with- 
out it what avails the faultlessness of either ? 
I blame nobody, least of all myself, who did my 
best then and since ; for I lately gave time and 
pains to turn my work into what the many 
might — instead of what the few must — like ; 
but after all, I imagined miother thing at first, 
and therefore leave as I find it. The historical 
decoration was purposely of no more importanee 
than a background requires ; and my stress lay 
on the incidents in the development of a soul : 
litde else is worth study. I, at least, alwayi 
thought so; you, with many known anicl un- 
known to me, think so; others may one daj 
think so ; and whether my attempt remain fa 
them or not, I trust, though away and past it 
to continue ever yours, 

R. B. 

LoKDOH, June % 1863k 



^ 



SORDELLO 



75 



Coneermng' this reyised edition he wrote to 
afriend: — 

" I do not nndeistand what can mean 

hf esjing that Sordello has heen * rewritten.* I 
(M certainly at one time intend to rewrite much 
d it, but changed my mind, — and the edition 
wfaifdi I reprinted was the same in all respects 
as its predeceoBors — only with an elucidatory 
beadiBs to eaeh page, and some few alterations, 



presumably for the better, in the text, such as 
occur in most of my works. I cannot remember 
a single instance of any importance that is re- 
written, and I only suppose that has taken 

project for performance, and set down as * done ' 
what was for a while intended to be done." 

For the sake of such elucidation as these 
head-lines give, they are introduced here as side- 
notes. 



SORDELLO 



BOOK THE FIRST 



Who win, may hear Sordello's story told : 
Hii story? Who believes me shall behold 
Tha maiif poxsue his fortunes to the encL 
like me: for as the friendless-people's friend 

Spied from his hill-top once, despite 
the din 

And dust of multitudes, PentapoUn 
Named o* the Naked Arm^ I nngle out 
Sonlello, compassed murkily about 
With rayage of six long sad hundred years. 
Only helieye me. Te belieYe ? 

Appears 
Yerana . . . Never, I should warn you first, 
Of my own choice had this, if not the worst 
Yet not the beet enedient, served to tell 
A story I could body forth so well 
Br mairliig speak, myself kept out of view, 
Toe veiy man as he was wont to do, ^ 
And iBKwiag yon to say the rest for him. 
Sioee, tiiongh I ndght be proud to see the dim 
Abjamal past divide its hateful surge. 
Letting ot all men this one man emerge 
Beeame it ideased me, yet, that moment past, 
I should delight in watchiii|gr first to last 
His p r o greas as yon watch it, not a whit ^ 
More in the secret than yourselves who sit 
Fresb-ehapleted to listen. But it seems 
Your setters-forth of unexampled themes. 
Makers cX quite new men, producing them, 
Wcold best chalk broadly on ea^ vesture^s 

hem 
T^ wearer's quality ; or take their stand, 
Mtri^ey on back and pointing-pole in hand, 
Beaide bim. So, for once I face ye, friends. 
Why the Snsoznoned together from the world's 
Poet him' four ends, 

tjiad- Dropped down from heaven or oast 
^■■•"•JJ^ up from hell, 
""™^"^ To near the story I propose to tell. 
CanfcflB now, poets know the dragnet's trick, 
Catefaing the dead, if fate denies the quick, 
And ahMning her ; 'tis not for fate to choose 
SSeaee or sone because she can refuse 
Seal ^es to gusten more, real hearts to ache 
Leas ott, real brows turn smoother for our sake : 
Ihave experienced something of her spite ; 
Bbt tl^re 's a realm wherein she has no right 
Aid I have many lovers. Say, but few 
"" ' fate aceords me ? Here they are : now 



Tiew 



Tb kost I muster ! Many a lighted face 
Fail with no vestige of the grave's disgrace ; 



FewUT- 
ing, many 
dead. 



What else should tempt them back to taste our 

air 
Except to see how their successors fare ? 
My audience I and they sit, each ghostiy man 
Striving to look as living as he can, 
Brother by breathing brother ; thou art set, 
Clear-witted critic, by . . . but I 'U not fret 
A wondrous soul of them, nor move death's 

spleen 
Who loves not to unlock them. Friends 1 1 mean 
The living in good earnest — ye elect 
Chiefly for love — suppose not 1 reieot 
Judicious praise, who contrary shall 
peep. 
Some fit occasion,, forth, for fear ye sleep. 
To glean your bland approvals. Then, appear, 
Verona I stay — thou, spirit, come not near 
BheUeyde- Now — not this time desert thy 
pNirtiiig, cloudy place 

Verona ap- To scare me, thus employed, with 
!«•"• that pure face ! 

I need not fear this audience, I make free 
W^ith them, but then this ia no place for thee I 
The thunder-phrase of the Atii^nian, grown 
Up out of memories of Marathon, 
Would echo like his own sword's griding screech 
Bra;^g a Persian shield, — the Silver speech 
Of Sidney's self, the stairy paladin. 
Turn intense as a trumpet sounding in 
The knights to tilt, — wert thou to hear I What 

heart 
Have I to play my puppets, bear my part 
Before these worthies r 

Lo, the past is buried 
In twain : up-thrust, out-staggering on the world, 
Subsiding into shape, a darkness rears 
Its outline^kindles at the core, appears 
Verona. 'T is six hundred years and more 
Since an event. The Second Friedrich wore 
The purple, and the Third Honorius filled 
The holy chair. That autumn eve was stilled : 
A last remains of sunset dimly burned 
O'er the far forests, like a toroh-fiame turned 
By the wind back upon its bearer's hand 
In one long flare of crimson : as a brand. 
The woods beneath lav black. A single eye 
From all Verona cared for the soft sky. 
But, gathering in its ancient market-place. 
Talked group with restless group ; ana not a face 
But wrath made livid, for among them were 
Death's stanch purveyors, such^ as have in care 
To feast him. Fear nad loii^ since taken root 
In every breast, and now these crushed its fruit. 
The ripe hate^ like a wine : to note the way 
It worked while each grew drunk I Men grave 

and gray 



76 



SORDELLO 



diflooiu* 
flted. 



Stood, with shut eyelids, rooking to and fro, 

Letting the silent luxury trickle slow 
How her About ^e hollows where a heart 

But the young gulped with a delirious 
glee 

Some foretaste of their first debauch in blood 
At the fierce news : for, be it understood. 
Envoys apprised Verona that her prince 
Count Richard of Saint Boniface, joined since 
A year with Azzo, Esters Lord, to thrust 
TaureUo Salinguerra, prime in trust 
With Eoelin Romano, from lus seat 
Feirara, — orei^^Eealous in the feat 
And stumbling on a peril unaware, 
Was captive, trammelled in his proper snare. 
They phrase it, taken by lus own intrigue. 

^. Immediate succor from the Lombard 

WJy ttiey League 

SSSid * ^ fi^*««» ^^^ *^* ^^*^ *^e Pope, 
IjeagvM, ^or Azzo, therefore, and his fellow- 
hope 
Of the Guelf cause, a glory overcast I 
Men^s faces, late agape, are now aghast. 
*' Prone is tne purple pavis ; Este makes 
Mirth for the aevu when he undertakes 
To play the Ecelin ; as if it cost 
Merely yourpushing-by to gain a post 
Like his ! The patron teUs ye, once for alL 
There be sound reasons that preferment fall 
On our beloved "... 

" Duke o' the Rood, whv not ? " 
Shouted an Estian, ** grudge ^e such a lot ? 
The hill-cat boasts some cunning of her own, 
Some stealthy trick to better b^sts unknown. 
That quick with prey enough her hunger blunts. 
And feeds her fat while gaunt the lion hunts." 

** Taurello," quoth an envoy, *' as in wane 
Dwelt at Ferrara. Like an osprey fain 
To fly but forced the earth his couch to make 
Far inland, till his friend the tempest wake. 
Waits he the Kaiser^s coming ; and as yet 
That fast friend sleeps, and he too sleeps : but let 
Only the billow fresnen, and he snuffs 
The aroused hurricane ere it enroughs 
Tlie sea it means to cross because of him. 
Sinketh the breeze ? His hope-sick eye grows 

dim; 
Creep closer on the creature ! Every day 
Strengthens the Pontiff ; Ecelin, they say. 
Dozes now at Oliero, with dry lips 
Telling upon his perished finger-tips 
How many ancestors are to depose 
Ere he be Satan^s Viceroy when the doze 
Deposits him in hell. So, Gaelfs rebuilt 
Their houses ; not a drop of blood was spilt 
When Cino Bocchimpane chanced to meet 
Buccio Virtii — God's wafer, and the street 
Is narrow I Tutti Santi, think, Srswarm 
With Ghibellins, and yet he took no hurm I 
This could not last. Off Salinguerra went 
To Padua, Podest^, *" with pare intent,' 
Said he, ^ my presence, judged the single bar 
To permanent tran(^uilht^, ma^ iar 
No lon^r ' — so I his back is fairly turned ? 
The pair of goodly palaces are burned. 
The gardens ravaged, and our GuelJb laugh, 

drunk 



A week with joy. The next, their laughter souk 
In sobs of blood, for they zound, some strange 

way. 
Old Salinguerra back again — I say, 
, . . Old Salinguerra in the town once 
\^^ more 

f orSSat Uprooting, overturning, flame before, ! 
FerrarA: Blood fetlock-high Deneath him. 

Azzo fled ; 
Who 'scaped the carnage followed; then the ; 

dead 
Were pushed aside from Salinguerra's throne. 
He ruled once more Ferrara, lul alone. 
Till Azzo, stunned awhile, revived, would 

pounce 
Coupled with Boniface, like lynx and ounce. 
On the gorged bird. Tne burghers ground their 

teeth 
To see troop after troop encamp beneath 
I' the standing com thick o'er the scantv patch 
It took so many patient months to snaton 
Out of the marsh ; while just within their walls 
Men fed on men. At lengtib Taurello calls 
A parlev : * let the Count wind u|p the war I 
Richara, light-hearted as a plunging star. 
Agrees to enter for the kindest ends 
Ferrara, flanked with fifty chosen friends. 
No horse-bov more, for fear your timid sort 
Should flv Ferrara at the bare report. 
Quietly through the town they rode, jog^jog ; 
* Ten, twenty, thirty, — curse the catalogue 
Of burnt Guelf houses I Strange, Taurello shows 
Not the least sign of life ' — whereat arose 
A general growl: 'How? With his victors by? 
I and my Veronese ? My troops and I ? 
Receive us, was jrour word ? ' So jogged they on. 
Nor laughed their host too openly : once gone 
Into the trap I " — 

Six hundred years ago ! 
Such the time's aspect and peoulittf woe 
(Yourselves may spell it yet in chronicles. 
Albeit the worm, our busy brother, drills 
His sprawling path through letters anciently 
Made fine and large to suit some abbot's eye) 
When the new Hohenstauffen dropped the maisk. 
Flung John of Brienne's favor m)m his casqae* 
Forswore crusading, had no mind to leave 
Saint Peter's proxv leisure to retrieve 
Losses to Otho and to Barbaross, 
Or make the Alps less easy to reoross ; 
And, thus confirming Pope Honorius' fear, 
Was excommunicate that very year. 
'' The triple-bearded Teaton come to life ! " 
Groaned the Great League ; and, arming for the 
strife, 

sl^rmy Took up, as it was Guelf or GhibeUiB, 
stgun. 1*8 cry ; what cry ? 

"The Emperor to come!** 
His crowd of feudatories, all and some. 
That leapt down with a crash of swords, speaxs, 

shields. 
One fighter on his fellow, to our fields. 
Scattered anon, took station here and there. 
And carried it, till now, with little care — 
Cannot but cry for him ; how else rebut 
Us longer ? Cliffs, an earthquake suffered jot 
In the mid-sea, each domineering erest 



r--l 



SORDELLO 



n 



Wlndi lURisht save sneh another throe cui wrest 
fWn out (oonoeiye) a certain ohokeweed e;rown 
Snee o^er the waters, twine and tanfi^le thrown 
Too thick, too fast aooumnlatin^ round. 
Too sore to over-riot and oonfound 
Sre long each brilliant islet with itself. 
Unless a second shook save idioal and shelf. 
Whirling the sea-drift wide : alas, the bnused 
And sallen wreck I Sunlight to be diffused 
For that ! Sunlight, 'neath which, a scum at 

first. 
The milfion fibres of our ohokeweed nurst 
IKapread themselyes, mantling the troubled 



And, shattered by those rooks, took hold again, 

So kindly blaxed it — that same blaze to brood 

O'er erery duster of the multitude 

Still haaarding new clasps, ties, filaments. 

An emnloua exchange oi pulses, vents 

Of native into nature ; till some growth 

Unisneied yet, exuberantly clothe ^ 

Ite Old- A surface solid now, continuous, one : 

** The Pope, for us the People, who 
begun 

The People, carries on the People 
thus. 

To keep that Kaiser off and dwell with us I '' 
Seeyoa? 

Or say. Two Principles that live 
Eadi fitly by its Kepresentative. 
^Hill-eat" — who called him so? — thegrace- 

follest 
Adrentorer. the ambiguous stranger^Tuest 
Of Lombaray (sleek but that ruffling fur, 
l^ose talms to their sheath!) whose velvet 



Soothes jealous neighbors when a Saxon scout 
— Arpo or Toland, is it ? — one without 
A eo uu iry or a name, presumes to couch 
Beside their noblest ; until men avouch 
^at, of all Houses in the Trevisan, 
no fitter, rear or van, 
Hian Eoelo ! They laughed as they 

enrolled 
That name at Milan on the page of 

gold, 
Godego^s lord^ — Ramon, liarostica, 
Cartig^ca, Baasano, Lona, 
Ajid eyery sheep-cote on the Suabian's fief ! 
No laugfaterwhen his son, " the Lombard Chief '' 
Konooth, as Barbaroesa^s path was bent 
To Italy along the Vale of Trent, 
Welcomed him at Roncaglia ! Sadness now — 
hamlets nested on the Tyrol's brow, 
Asolan and Et^F^nean hills, 
Rhetian and the Julian, sadness fills 
all, for Ecelin vouchsafes to stay 
and care about them ; day by day 
this pinnacle, the other spot, 

buildmg to defend a cot, 

^«et bnilt for a castle to defend. 



'TKtAoB^ but castles, castles, nor an end 

^M boasts how mountain ridge may join with 

r ^g amken galleij and soaring bridge. 

rBs takes, in brief, a figure tluit beseems 

i» gwsiiest nightmare of the Church's dreams, 
A ^gnory firm-rooted, unestranged 



From its old interests, and nowise changed 
Bv its new neighborhood : perchance the vaunt 
Oz Otho, ** my own £ste shall supphmt 
Your Este,*' come to pass. The sire led in 
A son as cruel ; and this Ecelin 
Had sonsj in turn, and daughters sly and tall 
And curhng and compliant ; but for all 
Romano (so they styled him) throve, that neck 
Of his so pinched and white, that hungry dieek 
Proved 'twas some fiend, not him, the man's- 

flesh went 
To feed : whereas Romano's instrument, 
Famous Taurello Salinguerra, sole 
I' the world, a tree whose boughs were slipt the 

bole 

Successively, whj should not he shed blood 

To further a design ? Men understood 

Living was pleasant to him as he wore 

His careless surcoat, glanced some missive o'er. 

Propped on his truncheon in the public way, 

Whue his lord lifted writhen hands to pray. 

Lost at Oliero's convent. 

EQU-cats, face 

Our Azzo, our Onelf-Lion I Why disgrace 

AbAuo A worthiness conspicuous near and 

Lord of far 

EBte heads (Atii at Rome while free and oonsu- 
theae. i„^ 

Este at Padua who repulsed the Hun) 
By trumpeting the Church's princely son ? 
— Styled Patron of Rovigo's Polesine, 
Anoona's march, Ferrara^s . . . ask, in fine. 
Our chronicles, ccnnmenoed when some old monk 
Found it intolerable to be sunk 
(Vexed to the quick by his revolting cell) 
Quite out of summer while alive aiul well : 
Ended when by his mat the Prior stood, 
'Mid busy promptings of the brotherhood, 
Striving to coax from his decrepit brains 
The reason Father Porphyry took pains 
To blot those ten lines out which used to stand 
First on their charter drawn by Hildebrand. 

The same night wears. Verona's rule of yore 
Was vested in a certain Twenty-four ; 
Count And while within his palace these de- 

Richard^a bate 

Palace at Concerning Richard and Ferrara's 
Verona. fate, 

Glide we by clapping doors, with sudden glare 
Of cressets vented on the dark, nor care 
For aught that 's seen or heard until we shut 
The smother in, the lights, all noises but 
The carroch's booming : safe at last I Why 

strange 
Such a recess should lurk behind a range 
Of banq oet-rooms ? Your finger — thus — you 

push 
A spring, and the wall opens, would yon rush 
Upon the banoueters, select your prey, 
Waiting (the sIaughter-weai>ons in the way 
Strewing this ver^ bench) with sharpened ear 
A i)reconoerted signal to appear ; 
Or if you sbnply crouch with beating heart. 
Of the Bearing in some voluptuous pageant 

couple part 

found To startle them. Nor mutes nor 

therein, masquers now ; 

Norany . . . does that one man sleep whose brow 



78 



SORDELLO 



The dying lamp-flame sinks and rises o'er ? 
What woman stood beside him ? not the more 
Is he unfastened from the earnest eyes 
Because that arras fell between I Her wise 
And lulling words are yet about the room^ 
Her presence wholly poured upon the gloom 
Down even to her vesture's creeping stir. 
And so reclines he, saturate wiUi her, 
Until an outcry &om the square beneath 
Pierces the ohann: he springs up, glad to 

breathe, 
AboTe the cunning element, and shakes 
The stupor off as (look you) morning breaks 
On the gav dress^ and, near concealed by it. 
The lean frame like a half-burnt taper, lit 
Erst at some marriage-feast, then laid away 
Till the Armenian brid^room's dying day. 
In his wool wedding-robe. 

For he — for he, 
Gate-yein of this hearts' blood of Lombardy, 
Qi I should falter now) — for he is thine I 
Sordello. thy forerunner, Florentine I 
A herala-star I know thou didst absorb 
Relentless into the consummate orb 
That scared it from lis right to roll along 
A sempiternal nath with dance and song 
FulfiUing its allotted period, 
Sereuest of the progeny of God — 
Who yet resigns it not I His daylin^ stoops 
With no quenched lights, desponds with no plank 

troops 
Of disenfranchised brilliances, for, Uent 
Utterly with thee, its shy element 
Like thine upbumeth prosperous and clear. 
Still, what if I approach the august sphere 
Named now with only one name, disentwine 
That under-current soft and ai]ppentine 
From its fierce mate in the majestic mass 
Leavened as the sea whose fire was mixt with 

glass 
In John's transcendent vision, — launch once 

more 

That lustre ? Dante, pacer of the shore 

Where glutted hell disgorgeth filthiest gloom, 

Unbitten by its whirring sulphur^ume — 

Or whence the grieved and obscure waters slope 

Into a darkness quieted by hope ; 

Flucker of amaranths grown beneath Ood's eye 

In gracious twilights where his chosen lie, — 

I would do this I If I should falter now I 

In Mantua teiritory half is slough. 

One be- Half pine-tree forest : maples, scanet 
longs to ^1^ *^ 

Birthplace. Ri^d o'er the river-beds ; evenMin- 

cio chokes 
With sand the summer through : but 't is mo- 

^ rass 
In wintc^ up to Mantua walls. There was. 
Some thirty vears before this evening's coil. 
One spot reclaimed from the surrounding spoil, 
Goito ; just a castle built amid 
A few low mountains ; firs and larches hid 
Their main defiles, and rings of vineyard bound 
The rest. Some cmtured creature in a pound, 
Whose artless wonder quite precludes distress. 
Secure beside in its own loveliness. 
So peered with airy head, below, above, 
The castle at its toils, the lapwings love 



To glean amon^r at grape-time. Pass within. 
A maze of corridors contrived for sin, 
Dusk winding^^tairs, dim galleries got past. 
You gain the inmost chambers, gain at last 
A maple-panelled room : that hiue which seems 
Floating about the pwiel, if there gleams 
A sunbeam over it, will turn to gold 
And in light-^aven characters unfold 
The Arab's wisdom everywhere ; what shade 
Marred them a moment, those slim pillazs made, 
Cut like a company of palms to prop 
The roof, each jdssing top entwmea with top. 
Leaning together ; in the carver's mind 
Some niot of bacchanals, flushed cheek com- 
bined 
With straining forehead, shoulders purpled, hair 
Diffused between, who in a goat-skm bear 
A vintage \ graceful sister-palms I But quick 
To the mam wonder, now. A vault, see ; thick 
Black shade about the ceiling, though 
A Vault fine slits 

cHltte^* AcroBsthebuttresssuffer light bvfita 
Ooitot Upon a marvel in the midst. Kay, 

stoop — 
A dullish gray-streaked cumbrous font, a group 
Round it J — each side of it, where'er one sees, — 
Upholds it ; shrinking Caryatides^ ^ 
Oi just-tinged marble like Eve's lilied fieah 
Beneath her maker's finger when the fresh 
First pulse of life shot brightening the snow. 
The font's edge burdens every shoulder, ao 
They muse upon the ground, eyelids half doaed ; 
Some, with meek arms bemud their backs dis- 
posed, 
Some, crossed above their bosoms, some, to veil 
Their eyes, some, propping chin and cheek so 

Some, nangin^ slack an utter helpless lengtli 
Dead as a buned vestal whose whole strength 
Goes when the grate above shuts heavily. 
So dwell these noiseless girls^ patient to see. 
Like priestesses because of sm impure 
Penanced forever, who resigned endure. 
Having that once drunk sweetness to the dx«gs» 
And every eve, Sordello's visit b^B 
Pardon for them : constant as eve ne came 
To sit beside each in her turn, the same 
As one of them, a certain space : and awe 

Made a great indjstinctness till he saw 
And what Sunset sknt cheerful through the 
SordeUo buttressHshinks, 

Gold seven times globed ; surely our 
maiden shrinks 
And a smile stirs her as if one faint grain 
Her load were lightened, one shade less the attaa 
Obscured her forehead, yet one more bead slipi 
From off the rosary whereby the crypt 
Keeps count of the contritions of its charge ? 
Then with a step more light, a heart more large 
He may depart, leave her and every one 
To linger out the penance in mute stone. 
Ah, but SordeUo? 'Tis the tale I mean 
To teU you. 

In this castle may be seen. 
On the lull-tops, or underneath the vines. 
Or eastward by the mound of firs and pines 
That shuts out Mantua, still in loneliness, 
A slender boy in a loose page's dress. 



would aee 
there. 



^ 



SORDELLO 



79 



Sotddlo: do but look on him awhile 
Witdiiiicr ('tis autumn) with an eaxnest smile 
The Doi^ flock of thieyiBh birds at work 
Amons ue jellowii^ yineyards ; see him Inrk 

(^is winter with its snllenest of 
j^»}»J- storms) 

°^*'^ "* Beside that arras-length of broidered 
forms, 

On tiptoe, lif tine in both hands a light 
Which makes yon warrior^ visage flutter bright 
— Eeelo, dismal father of the brood, 
And £Mlin, dose to the ^1 he wooed, 
Anna, and their Child, with all his wives 
Fnm Agnes to the Tnscan that snrvires. 
Lady of the castle, Adelaide. His face 
— Look, now he turns away I Yourselves diall 



of SoeEa. 




(The delicate nostril swerving wide and fine, 

A sharp and restless lip, so well combine 

Y^tfa that calm brow) a soul fit to receive 

DieiKht at every sense ; you can believe 

Sor&Uo foremost in the reeal class 

Nature has broadly severea from her mass 

Of men, and framed for pleasure, as she frames 

Same h^^py lands, that have luxurious names. 

For loose fertility ; a footfall there 

Soffiees to vptum to the warm air 

Half-geimmattne spices ; mere decay 

^odnees richer Hf e : and day by day 

New poDen on the lily-petal grows. 

And still more labsrrintnine buds tOB rose. 

Ton reoognize at once the finer dress 

Of flesh that amplv lets in loveliness ^ 

JkX eye and ear, while roond the rest is furled 

(As thoogh she would not trust them with her 

world) 
A veQ that shows a sky not near so blue, 
And lets bat half the sun look fervid through. 
How can such love ? — like souls on 

each full-fraught 
Discovery broomng, blind at first to 

aught 
Beyond its beauty, till exceeding love 
Becomes an aching weight ; and, to remove 
A eozae that haunts sn^ natures — to preclude 
Tlieir fmding out themsdves can work no good 
To what iber love nor make it very blest 
By thflir en^aavor, — thev are fain invest 
Tne ItfelesB thing with lice from their own soul, 
Awaifiiie it to purpose, to control. 
To dwul distinct and nave peculiar joy 
And separate interests that may employ 
T^at beauty fitly, for its proper sake. 
Xor rest they here ; fresh binhsof beauty wake 
R— h hcmage, everv grade of love is past, 
with every mode of loveliness : then cast 
Mr ioms off their borrowed crown 
a coming glory. Up and down 
arrowy nre, while earthly forms com- 
Inae 
^a tkob the secret forth ; a touch divine — 
"the sealed eveball owns the mystic rod ; 
through nk garden walketh God. 
K oo fare they. Now revert. One 
ek character 

Denotes them through the progress 
and the stir, — 
to blend with eadi external charm. 





Bury themselves, the whole heart wide and 

warm, — 
In. something not themselves ; they would be- 
long 
To what they worship — stronger and more 

strong 
Thus prodigally fed — which gathers shape 
And feature, soon imprisons past escape 
The votary named to love and to submit 
Nor ask, as passionate he kneels to it, 
Whence grew the idoFs empery. So runs 
A legend : light had birth ere moons and suns. 
Flowing through space a river and idone. 
Till chaos burst and blank tJ^e spheres were 

strown ^ 
Hither and thither, foundering and blind : 
When into each of them rushMl light — to find 
Itself no place, foiled of its radiant chance. 
Let such forego their just inheritance I 
For there 's a class that eagerly looks, too. 
On beauty, but, unlike the gentler crew. 
Proclaims each new revealment bom a twin 
With a distinctest consciousness withm. 
Referring still the quality, now first 
Revealed, to their own soul — its instinct nursed 
In silence, now remembered better, shown 
More thoroughly, but not the less uieir own ; 
A dream come true ; the special exercise 
How poets Of any special runction that impHes 
cIms «t The being fair, or good, or wise, or 
length— strong. 

Dormant within meir nature all along — 
Whose fault ? So, homage^ther souls direct 
Without, turns inward. How should this de- 
ject 
Thee, soul ? " they murmur ; " wherefore 

strength be quelled 
Because, its trivial accidents withheld. 
Organs are missed that clog the world, inert, 
Wanting: a will, to quicken and exert. 
Like thme — existence cannot satiate,^ 
Cannot surprise ? Laugh thou at envious fate. 
Who, from earth's simplest combination stampt 
With individuality — uncrampt 
By living its faint elemental me. 
Dost soar to heaven's complexest essence, rife 
With grandeurs, unaffronted to the last, 
F«rh««nr Equsl to beuig aU I " 
For honor, In truth? Thou hast 

Life, then — wilt challenge life for us : our race 

Is vindicated so, obtains its place 

In thv ascent, the first of us ; whom we 

May lolloiKV to the meanest, finally, 

^ . With our more bounded wills ? 

Orahame- Ah, but to find 

A certain mood enervate snch a mind, 
Counsel it dumber in the solitude 
Thus reached, nor, stooping, task for man- 
kind's good 
Its nature just as life and time accord 
** — Too narrow an arena to reward 
Emprise — the world's occasion worthless sinoe 
Not absolutely fitted to evince 
Its mastery ! " Or if yet worse befall. 
And a desire possess it to put all 
That nature forth, forcing our straitened sphere 
Contain it, — to diisplay completely here 
The mastery another bfe should learn, 



8o 



SORDELLO 



Thmstiiigr in time eternity's oonoem, — 
80 that Sordello . . . 

Fool, who si>ied the mark 
m^ the ^ leprosy upon him, violet-dark 
0^j^^Q,^ Already as ne loiters ? Born jnst 

now, 
With the new century, beside the e^ow 
And efflorescenoe ont of barbarism ; 
Witness a Qreek or two from the abyimi 
That stray throngk FloTenee-town with stadi- 

onsair, 
CalnunfiT the chisel of that Pisan pair: 
If Nicolo should carre a Christns yet I 
While at Siena is Guidons set, 
Forehead on hand \a painf nl birth must be 
Matured ere Saint £ufemia's sacristy 
Or transept gather fruits of one great gaze 
At the moon: look you I The same orange 

haze, — 
The same blue stripe round that — and, in the 

midst. 
Thy spectral whiteness. Mother-maid, who didst 
Pursue the dizzy painter ! 

Woe. then, worth 
Any officious babble letting f ortn 
The leprosy confirmed and ruinous 
To spirit lodeed in a contracted house I 
Gk> back to tne bennning, rather ; blend 
It gently with Soidello's life ; the end 
Is piteous, you mar see, but much between 
Pleasant enough. Meantime, some pyx to screen 
The f ull-^rrown pest, some lid to shut upon 
The gobhn I So they found at Babylon, 
(Gollea^es, mad Lucius and sage Antonine) 
Sacking the city, by Apollo^s smine. 
In rummaging among the rarities, 
A certain cofter^ he who made the prize 
Opened it greedily ; and out there curled 
Just such another plague, for half the world 
Was stung. Crawl in then, ha^r, and couch 

asquat. 
Keeping that blotchy bosom thick in spot 
Untu your time is ripe I The coffer-lid 
Is fastened, and the coffer safely hid 
Under the Loxian's choicest gifts of gold. 

Who will may hear SordeUo^s story told, 
And how he never could remember when 
He dwelt not at Goito. Calmly, then, 
„ „ About this secret lodge of Ade- 
SS? ^^ J«de's 

in child- ™<*e<* ^ y**'*^ »^*y J beyond the 
hood. glades 

On the fir-forest border, and the rim 
Of the low ranffe of mountain, was for him 
No other world : but this appeared his own 
To wander through at pleasure and alone. 
The castle too seemed empty ; far uid wide 
Might he disport ; only the northern side 
Lay under a mysterious interdict — 
Slight, just enough remembered to restrict 
His roaming to tine corridors, the vault 
Where those font-bearers expiate their fault, 
The maple-chamber, and the h'ttle nooks 
And nests, and breezy parapet that looks 
Over the woods to Mantua : there he strolled. 
Some foreign women-servants, very old 
Tended and crept about him —all Kia cl\ 
To the world's business and embroiled a 



Distant a dozen hill-tops at the most. 

And first a simple sense of life 
xd6 u^ ensnossed 

h& chad- bordello in his drowsy Paradise ; 
i«h fancy, '^^ day^s adventures for the 'day 

suffice — 
Its constant tribute of perceptions strange. 
With sleep and stir in healthy interchange. 
Suffice, and leave him for the next at ease 
Like the great palmer^worm that strips the 

trees. 
Eats the life out of every luscious plant. 
And, when September finds them sere or scant. 
Puts forth two wondrous winglets, alters quite. 
And hies him after unforeseen delight. 
So fed Sordello, not a shard disf^eathed ; 
As ever, round each new discovery, wreathed 
Luxuriantly the fancies infantine 
His admiration, bent on making fine 
Its novel friena at any risk, would fling 
In gay profusion forth ; a ficklest king, 
Coniessed those minions I — ea^r to mspense 
So much from his own stock of thou^t and 

sense 
As might enable each to stand alone 
And serve him for a fellow ; with his own, 
Joining the qualities that just before 
Had graced some older favorite. Thus tiiey 

wore 
A fluctuating halo, yesterday 
Set flicker and to-morrow filched away, — 
Those upland objects each of separate name. 
Each with an aspect never twice the same, 
Waxing: and waninpr bs the new-bom host 
Of fancies, like a smgrle iught*s hoar-frost, 
_. . . Gave to familiar things a face frro- 

^f tesque ; 

blowout ^^y» preserving through the mad 
a graat burlesque 

bubble, A grave regard. Conceive I the 

orpine paton 
Blossoming earliest on the log-bouse thatch 
The dav those archers wound along the vines — 
Related to the Chief that left their lines 
To climb with clinking step the northern stair 
Up to the solitary chambers where 
Sordello never came. Thus thrall reached 

thrall; 
He o'er-festooning every interval. 
As the adventurous spider, making hght 
Of distance, shoots her threads from depth to 

height. 
From barbican to battlement : so flung 
Fantasies forth and in their centre swun^ 
Our architect, — the breezy morning fresh 
AbovCj and merryj — all his waving mesh 
Laughmg with lucid dew-drops rainbow-edg^ed. 

This world of ours bv tacit pact is pledged 
To laying such a spangled fabric low 
WhetVev hy gradual brush or gallant blow. 
But it^ abundant will was balked here : doQl»t 
^ Rose tardily in one so fenced about 

g^9 ^Tom most that nurtures judgmexit, 

1^1^^ care and pain : 

t>J^He . Judgment, that dull expedient 
t;^!^ «efiun, 

1 t ^^^ ^^Mi^ adopt betimes and force 
I ^^^^4f iiyetted from our natural course 



X 



SORDELLO 



8i 



Of joys — oontriTO some yet amid tlie dearth. 
Vary and render them, it may be, worth 
Moat are fore«>. Suppose iSordello hence 
Selfish enong^n, without a moral sense 
Ho^^Ter feeble ; what informed the boy 
Others desired a portion in his jov ? • 
Or say a rathnil chance broke woof and 

warp — 
A heron^s nest beat down by March winds sharp, 
A fawn breathless beneath the precipioef 
A bird with nnsoiled breast and nnnlmed eyes 
Warm in the brake — oonld these nndo the 

trance 
Loping SordeUo ? Not a cirenmstanoe 
That nmkes for yon, friend Naddo I Eat fern- 



And peer beside ns and report indeed 

If (your word) "genins" dawned with throes 

and stings 
And the whole fiery cataloene, while springs, 
Sammers and winters onietly came ana went. 
Time put at length that period to content. 
By right the world should have imposed: be- 
reft 
Of its ^ood offices, Sordello, left 
To stim^ his companions, managed rip 
llieir fno^e off, learn the true relationship, 
(Vxre with its crust, their nature with his own: 
Amid his wild-wood sights he lived alone. 
As if the poppy felt with him ! Though he 
Partook the poppy's red effrontery 
Till Autumn spoiled their fleering quite with 

rain. 
And, tnrbanlesB, a coarse brown rattling crane 
Lay bare. That 's gone : yet why renounce, 

for that. 
His disenchanted tributaries — flat 
Perlu^ps, but scarce so utterly forlorn. 
Their simple presence might not well be borne 
Whose parley was a transport once : recall 
The poppy's gifts, it flaunts you, after all, 
A poppy : — wh^ distrust the evidence 
Of eacn soon satisfied and healthy sense ? 
•n,^ it The new-bom judgment answered, 

fSmmm; ''Kttle boots 

■ad new- Beholding other creatures' attributes 
bom And having none I " or, say that it 

jodgment sufficed, 

** Tet, could one but possess, one's self ," (enticed 
Judgement) **8ome special office I" Naught 

beside 
Serves you? **Well then, be somehow justi- 
fied 
For this ignoble wish to circumscribe 
And coooentrate, rather than swell, the tribe 
Of actual pleasures : what^ now, from without 
Effects it ? — proves, despite a lurking doubt. 
Mere sympathy sufficient, trouble spared ? 
That, tasting joys by proxy thus^ yon fared 

The better for them?" Thus much 
22fcSr craved his soul. 

^■^ Alas, from the beginning love is 

whole 
And true ; if sure of naught beside, 
most sure 
Of its own truth at least : nor may endure 
A crowd to see its face, that cannot know 
How hot the pulses throb its heart below. 



While its own helplessness and utter want 

Of meaxu to worthily be mimstrant 

To what it worshipsj do but fan the more 

Its flame, exalt the idol far before 

Itself as it would have it ever be. 

Souls like Sordello, on the contrary. 

Coerced and put to shame, retaining will. 

Care little^ take mysterious comfort still. 

But look forth tremblii^ly to ascertain 

If others judge their claims not urged in vain. 

And say for uiem their stifled thoughts aloud. 

So. they must ever live before a crowd : 

— ^* Vanity," Naddo tells you. 

Whence contrive 
A crowd, now ? From these women just alive, 
That aroher^troop ? Forth glided — not idone 
Each painted warrior, every girl of stone. 
Nor Adelaide (bent double o'er a scroll. 
One maiden at her knees, that eve, his soul 
Shook as he stumbled through the arras'd 

glooms 
On them, for, 'mid quaint robes and weird per- 
fumes, 
Started the meagre Tuscan up, — her eves. 
The maiden's, aJso, bluer with surprise) 

— But the entire out-world : whatever, scraps 
And snatches, song and story, dreams per- 
haps. 

Conceited the world's offices, and he 

Had hitherto transferred to flower or tree. 

Not counted a befitting heritage 

Each, of its own right, siittrly to engage 

Some man, no other, — such now durea to stand 

Alone. ^ Strength, wisdom, grace on every hand 

Soon disengaged themselves, and he discerned 

A sort of human life : at least, was turned 

_ . . A stream of lifelike figures through 

Hetiiere- his brain. 

cr^nxm Lord, liegeman, valvassor and Suze- 

nich a rain, 

oompsny; Ere he could choose, surrounded 

him; a stuff 
To work his pleasure on ; there, sure enough : 
But as for guing, what shall fix that gaze ? 
Are they to simply testify the ways 
He who convoked them sends his soul along 
With the cloud's thunder or a dove's brood- 
song? 

— While tney live each his life, boast each his 



Bach of 
which, 

itaown 
life, 



own 



Peculiar dower of bliss, stand each 
alone 

In some one point where something 
dearest loved 
Is easiest gained — far worthier to be proved 
Than aught he envies in the forest-wights ! 
No simpk and self-evident delights. 
But mixed desires of unimagined range. 
Contrasts or combinations, new and strange, 
Irksome perhaps, yet plainly recognized ^ 
By this, the sudden company — loves prized 
Bv those who are to prize his own amount 
Of loves. Once care because such make ao- 

oount. 
Allow that foreign rec<mitions stamp 
The current value, and lus crowd shall vamp 
Him counterfeits enough ; and so their print 
Be on the piece, 't is gold, attests the mmt. 



82 



SORDELLO 



And 



»(. 



good," pronoimce they vhom his new 
appeal 
Is made to : if their casual print oonoeal — ' 
This arbitrary good of theirs o'ergloss 
What he has lived vrithontf nor felt the loss — 
Qualities strange, ungainly, wearisome, 

— What matter ? So must speech expand the 

dumb 
Part-sigh, part-smile with which Sordello, late 
Whom no poor woodland-sights could satiate. 
Betakes himself to stud^ hungrily 
Just what the puppets his crude fantasy 
Supposes^ notablest, — popes, kings, priests, 

knights, — 
May please to promu^ate for appetites ; 
Accepting all tneir artificial joys 
Not as he views them, but as he employs 
Each shape to estimate the other's stock: 
Of attributes, whereon — a marshalled flock 
Of authorizea enjoyments — he may spend 
Himself, be men, now, as he used to blend 
Wilii tree and flower — nay more entirely, 

else 
'Twere mockerjr : for instance, ** How excels 
My life that chieftain's ? " (who apprised the 

youth 
Eoeliuj here, becomes this month, in truth. 
Imperial Vicar ?) ** Turns he in his tent 
RemiBsly ? Be it so —^ my head is bent 
Deliciously amid my girls to sleep. 
What if he stalks the Trentine-pass ? Yon steep 
I climbed an hour ago with little toil : 
We are alike there. But can I, too, foil 
The Guelf 's paid stabber, carelessly^ afford 
Saint Mark's a spectacle, thq sleight o' the 

sword 
Ba£Bing the treason in a moment ? " Here 
No rescue I Poppy he is none, but peer 
To Ecelin, assuredly : his hana, 
Fashionea no otherwise, should wield a brand 
With Ecelin's success — try, now ! He soon 
Was satisfied, returned as to the moon 
From earth: left each abortive boy's-attempt 
Hasqoali- For feats, from failure happily ex- 
iles impos- empt, 

■ible to a In fancy at his beck. ** One day I 
boy, ^fHX 

Accomplish it I Are they not older still 

— Not grown up men and women? 'Tis be- 

side 
Only a dream ; and though I must abide 
With dreams now, I may find a thorough Tent 
For all myself, acquire an instrument 
For acting what these people act ; my soul 
Hunting a body out may gain its whole 
Desire some day I " How else express chagrin 
And resi^ation, show the hope steal in 
WiUi which he let sink from an aching wrist 
The rough-hewn ash-bow? Straight, a gold 

shaft hissed 
Into the Syrian air, struck Malek down 
SnperUy! ^^Cross^ to the breach I Gk>d's 

Town 
Is grained him back ! " Why bend rough aah- 

bows more ? 
Thus lives he : if not careless as before, 
Comforted : for one may anticipate, 
Rehearse the future, be prepared when fate 



Shall have prepared in turn real men whose 

names 
Startle, real places of enormous fames, 
Kste abroad and £celin at home 
To worship him^— ■ Mantua, Verona, Rome 
To witness it. Who grudges time so spent ? 
Rather test qualities to heart's content — 
Summon them, thrice selected, near and far — 
Compress the starriest into one star. 
So, only to And grasp the whole at once ! 
be appro- The pageant thinned 

priated in Accordingly ; from rank, to rank, 
fancy, ]^^ ^j^i 

His spirit passed to winnow and divide ; 
Back fell the simpler phantasms ; every side 
The strong dave to the wise ; with either 

classed 
The beauteous ; so, till two or three amassed 
Mankind's beseeminirnesses, and reduced 
Themselves eventually, graces loosed, 
Strengrths lavished, all to heighten up One 

Shape 
Whose potency no creature should escape. 
Can it be Friedrich of Uie bowmen's talk ? 
Surely that grape-jmce, bubbliog at the stalk. 
Is some gray scorcning Sarasenic wine 
The Kaiser quaffs with the Miramoliae — 
Those swarthy hazel-dusters, seamed and 

chapped. 
Or filberts russet-sheathed and velvet-capped, 
Are dates plucked from the bough John Bri- 

enne sent. 
To keep in mind his sluggish armament 
Of Canaan: — Friedrich's, all the pomp and 

fierce 
Demeanor I But harsh sounds and sights 



pierce 

So rarely the serene cloud where he dweDs, 
And prao- Whose looks enjoin, whose lightest 
Used on words are spells 

tOlthereal On the obdurate ! That right arm in- 
oome. deed 

Has thunder for its slave ; but where 's the 

need 
Of thunder if the stricken multitude 
Hearkens, arrested in its angriest mood, 
While son^ go up exulting, then dispread. 
Dispart, disperse, lingering overhead 
Like an escape oi angels ? 'T is the tune. 
Nor much unlike the words his women croon 
Smilingly, colorless and faint-designed 
Each, as a worn-out queen's face some remind 
Of her extreme youth's love-tales. ** KglawMir 
Made that ! " Half minstrel and half emperor. 
What but ill objects vexed him? Such he 

slew. 
The kinder sort were easy to subdue 
By those ambrosial glances, dulcet tones ; 
And these a gradous hand advanced to ti^ronea 
Beneath^ him. Wherefore twist and tortnrc 

this, 
Strivine to name afresh the antique bliss, 
Instead of saying, neither less nor more, 
He m&KDB He had discovered, as our world l>e- 
to be per- fore, 

feot— say, Apollo? That diall be the 
ApoUo; nor bid 

Me rag by rag eapoao how patchwork hid 



SORDELLO 



83 



ThB youth — what thefts of evexy dime and 

day 
Gontnbnted to pufle the array 
He elimbed with (June at deep) aome doee 

raTine 
^Mid eUtter of its million pebbles sheen, 
Orer which, singing soft, Uie runnel slipped 
Elate with rains : into whose streamlet dipped 
He foot, yet trod, yoa thought, with unwet 

sock — 
^numgh really on the stubs of living rock 
Ages ago it crenelled : vines for roof, 
Lindens for wall ; before bim, aye aloof, 
Flittered in the cool some azure danuBcl-fly, 
Bwn of the simmering quiet, there to die. 
Smeigiiu: whence, Apollo stUL he spied 
Ifi^ty desoents of forest ; multiplied 
Tttrt on toft, here, the frolic myme-trees, 
There gendered the grave maple stocks at ease, 
And, proud of its obsierver, straight the wood 
Tnad old surprises on him ; black it stood 
A sodden banier ('t was a cloud paned o'er) 
So dead and dense, the tiniest brute no more 
Most psBB ; yet presently (the cloud dispatched) 
Eseh elnmp, behold, was glistening detached 
A ahmb, oak-boles shrunk into ilex-stems I 
Tet eoold not he denounce the stratagems 
He saw thro', till, hours thence, a^ft would 



White snmmex^lightnings ; as it sank and 



To measure, that whole palpitating breast 
Of heaven, 't was Apollo, nature prest 
At eve to worship. 

Time stole : by degrees 
Hie Pythons perish off ; his votaries 
Sink to respectful distance : songs redeem 
Their puns, but briefer ; tneir dismissals seem 
Emphatic ; only ^Is are very slow 
To ^baappeax — his Delians I Some that glow 
0* the instant, more with earlier loves to wrench 
Away, reserves to ^uell, disdains to quench ; 
Alike in one material circumstance — 
All soon or late adore Apollo I Glance 
The bevy throosh, divine Apollo's choice. 
And Apo^ His Daphne ! ** We secure Count 
lomwscne Richard's voice 
dky flad In Este's counsels, good for Este's 
^^l*»* ends 

As onr IWuxeUo," say his faded friends, 
^Bj gnatiag him our Palma I " — the sole 

child. 
They mean, of Agnes Este who beguiled 
KesiTn. veaxB before this Adelaide 
Wedilea and turned him wicked : " but the 

maid 
B^leets his suit." those sleepy women boast. 
Ska, secnviiig all beside, deserves the most 
Ssdello : so, conspicuous in his world 
Of drpnms sat Pauna. How the tresses curled 
liio a sanoLptaous swell of gold and wound 
AWnt herfike a glory ! even the ground 
Was bright as with spilt sunbeams; breathe 

not, Ixreathe 



4! — jDoifled,s 
i ■au foot bi 



. hot the other, listlessly below, 

O'er the eooob-side swings feeling for cool air, 



The vein-etreaks swollen a richer violet where 

The languid blood lies heavily ; yet cahn 

On her slight prop, each flat and outspread palm. 

As but suspended in the act to rise 

By consciousneBs of beauty, whence her eves 

But when Turn with so frank a triumph, for 

will this she meets 

dream turn Apollo's gaze in the pineglooms. 

*™**»^ Time fleets: 

That 's worst I Because the pre-appointed age 

Approaches. Fate is tardy with the stage 

And crowd she promised. Lean he grows and 

Thoujgh restlessly at rest. Hardly avail 

Fancies to soothe him. Time steals, yet alone 

He tarries here I The earnest smile is gone. 

How long this might continue matters not ; 

For the — Forever, possibly ; since to the spot 

time in None come : onr ungering Taurello 

ripe, and quits 

be ready. Mantua at last, and light our lady flits 

Back to her place disburdened of a care. 

Strange — to be constant here if he is there I 

Is it distrust ? Oh^ever I for they both 

Goad Ecelin alike, Romano's growth 

Is daU:^ manifest, with A^o dumb 

And Richard wavering : let but Friedrich come, 

VbaA matter for the minstrelsy's report I 

— Lured from the Isle and its young Kaiser's 

court 
To sinfi^ us a Messina morning up, 
And, double rillet of a drinkmg cup. 
Sparkle along to ease the land of d^uth. 
Northward to Provence that, and thus far south 
The other. "What a method to apprise 
Nei|rhbors of births, espousals, obsequies I 
Which in their very tongue the Troubadour 
Records ; and his performance makes a tour, 
For Trouveres bear the miracle about. 
Explain its cunning to the vulgar rout. 
Until the Formidable House is famed 
Over the country — as Taurello aimed. 
Who introduced, although the rest adopt, 
The novelty. Such games, her absence stopped, 
Benn afresh now Adelaide, recluse 
No longer, in the light of day pursues 
Her plans at Mantua : whence an accident 
Which, breaking on Sordello's mixed content, 
Openea, like any flash that cures the blind, 
Tne veritable business of mankind. 



BOOK THE SECOND 

The woods were long austere with snow : at last 
_^. . . Pink leaflets budded on the beech, 
2^*» J«^ and fast 
fgj^^^ Larches, scattered through pine-tree 

solitudes, 
Brightened, ^* as in the slumbrous heart o' the 

woods 
Our buried year, a witch, grew young again 
To placid incantations, ana that stain 
About were from her caldron, green smoke blent 
With those black pines" — so Eglamor gave 

vent 
To a chance fano^. Whence a just rebuke 
From his companion ; brother Naddo shook 



84 



SORDELLO 



The solemnest of brows ; *"*" Beware/' he said, 
*' Of settinfi: up conoeits in nature's stead ! " 
Forth wandered our tSordello. Naught so sure 
As that to-day's adventure will secure 
Palma, the visioned lady — only pass 
O'er yon damp mound and its euiausted erasa, 
Under that brake where sundawn feecU the 

stalks 
Of withered fern with gold, into those walks 
Of pine and take her ! Buoyantly he went. 
Afi[ain his stooping forehead was besprent 
With dew-drops &om the skirting ferns. Then 

wide 
Opened the great morass, shot every side 
With flashing water through and through ; 

a-shine^ 
Thick steammg, all alive. Whose shax>e di« 

vine, 
Quivered i' the farthest rainbow-vapor, glanced 
Atibwart the flying herons ? He advanced, 
But warily ; though Minoio leaped no more. 
Each footfall burst up in the marish-floor 
A diamond jet : and if he stopped to pick 
Kose-lichen, or molest the leecnes qmck, 
And circling blood-worms, minnow, newt or 

loach, 
A sudden pond would silently encroach 
This way and that. On PaJma passed. The 

verge 
Of a new wood was gained. She will emeige 
Flushed^ now, and panting, — crowds to see, — 

will own 
She loves him — Boniface to hear, to groan, 
To leave his suit ! One screen of pine-trees still 
Opposes : but — the startling spectacle — 
Mantua, this time I Under the walls — a crowd 
Indeed, real men and women, gay and loud 
Round a pavilion. How he stood ! 

In truth ^ 
Jl5j^ No prophecy had come to pass : his 

Sd bright. T y??^ . , . 

e«t,barsU. ^ its pnme now — and where was 

homage poured 
Upon Sordello ? — bom to be adored. 
And suddenly discovered weak, scarce made 
To cope with an^, cast into the shade 
By this and this. Yet something seemed to 

prick 
And tingle in his blood ; a sleight — a trick — 
And much would be explained. It went for 

naught — 
The best of their endowments were ill bought 
With his identity : nay. the conceit. 
That this day's roving led to Palma's feet 
Was not so vain — list I The word, " Palma I " 

Steal 
Aside, and die, Sordello ; this is real, 
And this — abjure ! 

What next? The curtains see 
Dividing I She is there ; and presently 
He will be there — the proper x ou, at length — 
In your own cherished dress of grace and 

strength : 
Most like, the very Boniface ! 

Not so. 
It was a showy man advanced ; but though 
A glad cry welcomed him, then every sound 
Sank and the crowd disposed themselves around. 



— "■ This is not he," SordeUo felt ; whUe, *' Place 
For the best Troubadour of Boniface I " 
Hollaed the Jongleurs, — *^ Eglamor, whose lav 
Concludes his patron's Court of Love to-day ! '' 
Obsequious Naddo strung the master's lute 
With the new lute-string, ** Elys^" named to suit 
AtaCoort The song: he stealthily at watch, tlw 
of Love a while, ^ 

minstrel Biting his lip to keep down a great 
*ing«. smue 

Of pride : then up he struck. Sordello's brain 

Swam ; for he knew a sometime deed again ; 

So, could supply each foolish gap and chasm 

The minstrel left in his enthusiasm. 

Mistaking its true version — was the tale 

Not of Apollo ? Only, what avail 

Luring her down, that Elys an he pleased. 

If the man dared no further? Has he ceased f 

And, lo, the people's frank applause half done, 

Sordello was oeside him, had begun 

(Spite of indignant twitchings from his friend 

The Trouvere) the true lay with the true end, 

Takixig the other's names and time and place 

For his. On flew the song, a giddy race, 

Sordello, After the flying story; word made 

before Pal- leap 

ma, oon> Out word, rhyme — rhyme ; the lay 

quers him, could barely keep 

Pace with the action visibly rushing past : 

Both ended. Back fell Naddo more aghast 

Than some Egyptian from the haraned bull 

That wheeled abrupt and, bellowing, fronted 

full 
His plague, who spied a scarab 'neath the 

tongue. 
And found 't was Apis' flank lus hasty pron^ 
Insulted. But the people — but the cries. 
The crowding round, and proffering the prize ! 

— For he haa gained some prize. He seemed 

toshrink 
Into a eXeepj doud, just at whose brink 
One sight withheld him. There sat Adelaide, 
Silent ; but at her knees the very maid ^ 
Of the North Chamber, her red lips as rich^ 
The same pure fleecy hair ; one weft of which. 
Golden and great, quite touched his cheek as 

o'er 
She leant, speaking some six words and no mare. 
He answered something^, anyUiin^ ; and she 
Unbound a scarf and uud it heavily 
Upon him, her neck's warmth and all. Again 
Moved the arrested mag^c ; in his brain 
Noises grew, and a light that turned to glare. 
And greater glare, until the intense flare 
Engulfed him, dint the whole scene from his 

sense. 
And when he woke 't was many a furloB^^ 

thence. 
At home ; the sun shinii^ his mdd^ wont ; 
The customary birds'-chirp ; but his front 
Receives Was crowned — was crowned I H^er 
the prize, scented scarf around 
and rumi- His neck ! Whose gorgeous yesfciuv 
"•^•••^ heaps the ground r 

A prize ? He turned, and peeringly on him 
Brooded the women-faces, Kind and dim, 
Keady to talk — *' The Jongleurs in a troop 
Had brought him back, Naddo and Squaroialnpa 




SORDELLO 



8S 



And Tagrliaier ; howstzange! a childhood spent 
In tsking, well for him, so brave a bent ! 
isnee Ej^JMnor," they heard, ** was dead with 

spite. 
And Pahna chose him for her minstrel/' 

Light 
Sordello rose — to think, now ; hitherto 
He had perceived. Snre, a discovery grew 
Oat of it all ! Best live from first to last 
The transport o'er again. A week he passed, 
Soeking the sweet ont of each cironmstance. 
From the bard's oatbreak to the Inscions trance 
Bounding his own achievement. Strange I A 

man 
Reeannted an adventure, but began 
Imperfectly ; his own task was to fill 
Hie frame-work up, sin^ well what he snng ill, 
Sopply the neoeaaary pomts, set loose 
As man^ incidents of little use 
— More imbecile the other, not to see 
TWir relative iniportanoe clear as he I 
Bat, for a apecial pleasure in the act 
Of sanng — had he ever turned, in fact, 
F^om £3ya, to sing Elys ? — from each fit 
Of laptore to contrive a song of it ? 
True, this snatch or the other seemed to wind 
Into a treasore, helped himself to find 
A beauty in himself ; for, see, he soared 
By means of that mere snatch, to many a hoard 
Olfuicies ; as some falling cone bears soft 
"Hie eve along the fir-tree spire, idof t 
To a dove's nest. Then, how divine the cause 
Why sueh p«rf ormance should exact applause 
f^om men, if they had fanciies'too ? Did fate 
Decree they found a beauty separate 
la the poor snatch itself ? — '' Take Elys, tiiere, 
— *" Her head that 's sharp and perfect like a 



So dose aftd smooth are laid the few fine locks 
Colored like honey oozed from topmost rocks 
SoB-UaDched the livelong summer ' — if they 

heard 
Just those two rhymes, assented at my word, 
And loved them as I love them who have run 
Tkme fingers through those pale locks, let the 



Into die white cool skin — who first could clutch, 
Then pnuae — I needs must be a god to such. 
Or what if some, above themselves, and yet 
How bad Beneath me, like their Eglamor, 
Iwbeenau- have set 

to An impress on our gift ? So, men 

>^^ believe 
And worship what they know not, nor receive 
Ddtght from. Have they fancies — slow, i>er- 



Set at their beck, which indistinctly ^rlance 
ITstiL, by song, each floating part be hnked 
To each, and adl grow palpable, distinct ? '* 
Bs pondered this. 

Meanwhile, sounds low and drear 
S'^lofe on him, and a noise of footsteps, near 
And nearer, while the underwood was pushed 
Ania, the larches grazed, the dead leaves 

cmahed 
At t^ approach of men. The wind seemed laid; 
Otaljr, the trees shrunk slightly and a shade 
CaoK o^er the sky although 't was mid-day yet : 



You saw each half -shut downcast floweret 

Flutter — ** a Koman bride, when they 'd dispart 

Her unbound tresses with the Sabine dart, 

Holding that faipous rape in memory still, 

Felt creep into her curls the iron clml. 

And looked thus," Eglamor would say — indeed 

Xhis IB ^Tia Eglamor, no other, these precede 

answered Home hither in the woods. ** ^ were 

by £gla- surely sweet 

mor Eim- Far from the scene of one's forlorn 

■«"= defeat 

To sleep ! " judged Naddo, who in person led 

Jongleurs and Trouveres, chanting at their head, 

A scanty company ; for, sooth to sa^, 

Our beaten Troubadour had seen his day. 

Old worshippezs were something shamed, old 

friends 
Nigh weary ; still the death proposed amends. 
** Let us but get them safely through my song 
And home again ! '' quoth Naddo. 

AH along. 
This man (they rest the bier upon the sand) 
— This calm corpse with the loose flowers in his 

huid, 
Eglamor^ lived Sordello's opposite. 
For him mdeed was Naddo s notion right. 
And verse a temple^worahip vague and vast, . 
A ceremony that withdrew the last 
OppNOsing bolt, looped back the lingering veil 
Which hid the holy place : should one so frail 
Stand there without such effort ? of repine 
If much was blank, uncertain at the shrine 
He knelt before, till, soothed by many a rite. 
The power responded, and some sound or sight 
Grew up, his own forever, to be fixed, 
251!iS In rhyme, the beautiful, forever I — 
J^2Sf mixed 

he loved, With his own life, unloosed when he 

should please, 
Havin^r it safe at hand, ready to ease^ 
All nam, remove all trouble ; everv time 
He loosed that fancy from its bonds of rhyme, 
(Like jPerseus when he loosed his naked love) 
Faltering ; so distinct and far above ^ 
Himself, these fancies ! He, no ^nius rare, 
Transfiguiing in fire or wave or air^ 
At will, but a poor gnome that, cloistered up 
In some rock-cnamber with his agate cup, 
His topaz rod, his seed-pearl, in these few 
And their arrangement finds enough to do 
For his best art. Then, how he loved that art ! 
The calling marking him a man apart 
From men — one not to care, take counsel for 
Cold hearts, comfortless faces — (Eglamor 
Was neediest of his tribe) — since verse, the gift, 
Was his, and men, the whole of them, must shift 
Without it, e^en content themselves with wealth 
Andpomp and power, snatching a life by stealth. 
So, Eglamor was not without Us pride ! 
Loving hiB The sorriest bat which cowers 
art and re- throughout noontide 
warded l^ While other birds are jocund, has one 
**» time 

When moon and stars are blinded, and the prime 
Of earth is his to claim, nor find a peer ; 
And Eglamor was noblest poet here — 
He wefi knew, 'mid those April woods, he cast 
Conceits upon in plenty as he passed. 



S6 



SORDELLO 



That Naddo might suppose him not to think 
Bntirely on the comii:^ triumph : wink 
At the one weakness I 'T was a fervid child, 
That song of his ; no brother of the guild 
Had e*er conceived its like. The rest you know, 
The exaltation and the overthrow : 
Our poet lost his purpose, lost his rank, 
His Uf e — to that it came. Yet envy sank 
Within him, as he heard Sordello out. 
And, for the first time, shouted — tried to shout 
Like others, not from any zeal to show^ 
Pleasure that way : the common sort did so. 
\Vhat else was EJ^lamor ? who, bending down 
As thev, placed his beneath Sordello^s crown. 
Printed a kiss on his successor's hand, ^ 
Left one great tear on it, then ioined his band 

— In time ; for some were watcning at the door : 
Who knows what envy may effect? "GJive 

o'er, 
Nor charm his lips, nor craze him I " (here one 

spied 
And disengaged the withered crown) — ** Beside 
His crown ? How prompt and clear those verses 

rang 
To answer yours I nay, sing them I " And he 

sang 
Them calmly. Home he went ; friends used to 

wait 
His coming, zealous to congratulate ; 
But, to a man, — so quickly runs report, — 
Could do no less than leave him, and escort 
His rival. That eve, then, bred many a thought : 
What must his future life be ? was he brought 
So low, who stood so lofty this Spring mom ? 
At length he said, " Best sleep now with my 

scorn. 
And b^ to-morrow I devise some plain 
Expedient I *^ So, he slept, nor woke again. 
Tending They foimd as much, those friends, 
with what when they returned 
had pes- Overflowing with the marvels they 
■eased him. had learned 

About Sordello*s paradise, his roves 
Among the hills and vales and plains and groves. 
Wherein, no doubt, this lay was roughly oast, 
Polished by slow degrees, completed last 
To £glamor*s discomfiture ana death. 
Such form the chanters now, and, out of 

breath, 
They lay the beaten man in his abode, 
Naddo reciting that same luckless ode. 
Doleful to hear. Sordello could explore 
By means of it, however, one step more 
In joy ; and, mastering the round at length. 
Learnt how to live in weakness as in strength. 
When from his covert forth he stood, addressed 
i^lamor, bade the tender ferns invest, 
PnmsBval pines o'ercanopy his couch, 
And, most of all, his fame — (shall I avouch 
!Bglamor heard it, dead though he might look. 
And laughed as from his brow Sordello took 
The crown, and laid on the bard's breast, and 

said 
It was a crown, now, fit for poet's head ?) 

— Continue. Nor the prayer quite fruitless fell, 
Aplant they have, yielding a three-leaved bell 
Which whitens at tne heart ere noon, and ails 
Till evening ; evening gives it to her gales 



To dear away with such forgotten things 
As are an eyesore to the mom : this brings 
Him to their mind, and bears his very name. 
Eglamor So much for Eglamor. My own 
done with, month came ; 
Sordello 'Twas a sunrise of blossoming and 
begins. May. 

Beneath a flowering laurel thicket lay 
Sordello ; each new sprinkle of white stars 
That smell fainter of wine than Massio jars 
Dug up at Baise, when the south wind shed 
The ripest, made him happier ; filleted 
And robed the same, only a lute beside ^ 
Lay on the turf. Before him far and wide 
The countrv stretched : Goito slept behind 

— The castle and its covert, which confined 
Him with his hopes and fears ; so fain of old 
To leave the story of his birth untold. 

At intervals, 'epite the fantastic glow 

Of his Apollo-life, a certain low 

And wretched whisper, winding through the 

bliss. 
Admonished, no such fortune could be his. 
All was quite false and sure to fade one day: 
The closelier drew he round him his array 
Of brilliance to expel the truth. But when 
A reason for his difference from men 
Surprised him at the grave, he took no rest 
While aup:ht of that dd life, superbly dressed 
Down to its meanest incident, remained 
A mystery : alas, they soon explained 
Awi^^ Apollo ! and the tale amounts 
To this : when at Vicenza both her counts 
Who he Banished the Vivaresi kith and kin, 
really was, Those Maltraversi hung on £oelin, 
and why Reviled him as he followed ; he for 
at Goito. gpite 

Must fire their quarter, though that self-same 

night 
Among tne flames young Ecelin was bom 
Of Adelaide, there too, and barely torn 
From tiie roused populace hard on the rear. 
By a poor archer when his chieftain's fear 
G^w nigh ; into the thick Elcorte leapt. 
Saved her, and died ; no creature left except 
His <^ild to thank. And when the full escape 
Was known — how men impaled from chine to 

nape 
Unlucky Prata, all to pieces spumed 
Bishop Pistore's concubines, and burned 
Taurello's entire household, flesh and fell. 
Missing the sweeter prey — such courage well 
Might claim reward. The orphan, ever sinoOi, 
Soraello, had been nurtured by his prince 
Within a blind retreat where Adelaide — 
(For, once this notable discovery made. 
The past at every point was understood) 

— Might harbor easily when times were rude, 
Wlien Azzo schemed for Palma, to retrieye 
That pledge of Agnes Este — loth to leare 
Mantua unguardea w^ith a vigilant eye. 
While there Taurello bode ambiguously — 
He who could have no motive now to moil 
For his own fortunes since their utter spoil — 
As it were worth while yet (went the report) 
To disengapre himself from her. In short, 
Apollo vanished ; a mean youth, just named 
His lady's minstrel, was to be proclaimed 



SORDELLO 



87 



—How shaQ I phraae it ? — Monarch of the 
b, M Hi- Worid I 

tK would For, on the day when that array was 
Ma bo so furled 

Forever, and in phioe of one a slave 
To loQgingB, wild indeed, but longings save 
In drnms as wild, suppressed — one daring 

not 
Aflsome the mastery such dreams allot. 
Unto a mancal eqnipment, strength, 
GfMse, wisaooi, decked him too, — he chose at 

length. 
Content with unj^roved wits and failing frame, 
In virtae of his smiple will, to claim 
That mastery, no leas — to do his best 
With means so limited, and let the rest 
Qo by, — the seal was set : never again 
SordeUo oonld iq his own sight remain 
Lwres the One of the many, one with hopes and 
tetmbB cares 

■'y^ And interests nowise distinct from 
^oamthiBg, theirs, 

(kij peculiar in a thrivelees store 
Of fanciee, which were fancies and no more ; 
Never again for him uid for. the crowd 
A ocRnmon law was challenged and allowed 
If calmly reasoned of, howler denied 
By a mad impulse nothing justified 
Sbort of Apollo's presence. The divorce 
Is dear : why needs Sordello square his conise 
By any known example ? Men no more 
Compete with him than tree and flower before. 
Himself, inactive, yet is greater far 
Than such as act, each stooping to his star, 
Acquiring thence his function ; he has gained 
Tkt same result with meaner mortals trained 
To strength or beauty, moulded to express 
£adi iJ&e idea that rules him ; since no less 
He comprehends that function, but can still 
Embrace the others, take of might his fill 
With Richard as of grace with JPalma, mix 
Their qualities, or for a moment fix 
On one ; abiding free meantime, uncramped 
By any partial organ, never stamped 
S^ong, and to strength turning all energies — 
Wise, and restrictea to becoming wise — 
Tliat is, he loves not, nor possesses One 
Idea tl^t, star-like over, lures him on 
To its exclusive purpose. ** Fortunate I 
This flesh of mine ne'er strove to emulate 
A aool 80 various — took no casual mould 
Of the fint fancy and, contracted, cold, 
CUceged her forever — soul averse to change 
Am neah : whereas flesh leaves soul free to range, 
Hemains itself a blank, cast into shade, 
EMmmbers Uttle, if it cannot aid. 
FIm* the So, ran^, free soul I — who, by self- 
oonsciousness, 
do The last drop of all beauty dost ex- 



The eraoe of seeing grace, a quintessence 

For nee : while for the world, diat can dispense 

Wonder on jnen who, themselves, wonaer — 

make 
A shift to lore at second-hand, and take 
For idols those who do but idolize, 
TheanelTes, — the world that counts men strong 

or wise. 



Who, themselves, court strength, wisdom, — it 

shall bow 
Surely in unexampled worship now. 
Discerning me I '* — 

(Dear monarch, I beseech. 
Notice how lamentablv wide a breach 
Is here : discovering this, discover too 
What our poor world has possibly to do 
With it I As pigmy natures as you please — 
So much the bettor for you ; take vour ease, 
Look on, and laugh ; style yourself Ood alone ; 
Strangle some day with a cross olive-stone I 
All that is right enough : but why want us 
To know that yon yourself know thus and thus ?) 
*^ The world shall bow to me conceiving all 
Man's life, who see its blisses, great and small, 
Afar — not tasting any ; no machine 
To exercise my ubnost will is mine : 
Be mine mere consciousness ! Let men perceive 
What I could do, a mastery believe, 
Asserted and established to the throng 
By their selected evidence of song 
Which now shall prove, whato'er they are, or 

seek 
To be, I am — whose words, not actions speak, 
Who change no standards of perfection, vex 
With no strange forms created to perplex, 
But just perform^ their bidding and no more, 
At their own satiating-point give o'er. 
While each shall love in me the love that leads 
His soul to power's perfection." Song, not 

deeds, 
(For we get tired) was chosen. Fato wonld 

brook 
Mankind no other organ ; he wonld look 
For not another channel to dispense 
His own volition by, receive men's sense 
Of its supremacy -- would live content. 
Obstructed else, with merely verse for vent. 
Yet is able Nor should, for instance, strengtii an 
to imagina outiet seek 

every- And, striving, be admired ; nor grace 

thing, bespeak 

Wonder, displayed in gracious attitudes ; 
Nor wisdom, poured forth, change unseemly 

moods: 
But he would give and take on song's one point. 
Like some huge throbbing stone that, poised 

ar joint. 
Sounds, to affect on its basaltic bed, 
Most sue in just one accent ; tempests shed 
Thunder, and raves the windstorm : only let 
That key by any little noise be set — 
The far bentghted hunter's halloo piteh 
On that, the nungry curlew chance to scriteh 
Or serpent hiss it, rustiing through the rift. 
However loud, however low — aU lift 
The groaning monster, stricken to the heart. 

Lo ye, the world's concernment, for its part. 
If the And this, for his, will hardly inter- 

world es- fere ! 

teem thla Its businesses in blood uid blaze this 
equivalent. year 

But while the hour away — a pastime slight 
Till he shall step upon the platform : right ! 
And, now thos much is settled, cast in rough. 
Proved feasible, be counselled I thought 
enough, — 



88 



SORDELLO 






Slnmberf Sordello I any day will serve : 
Were it a less digested plan I how swerve 
To-morrow ? Meanwhile eat these snn-diied 

grapes. 
And watch the soarii^ hawk there I Life es- 
capes 
Merrily thus. 

He thoronp;Uy read o'er 
His tmchman Naddo's missiye six times more, 
Fi^yin^ him visit Muitna and supply 
A famished world. 

The evening star was high 
When he reached Mantua, but his fame ar- 
rived 
Before him : friends applauded, foes connived, ' 
And Naddo looked an angel, and the rest 
Angels, and all these angels would be blest 
Supremely by a song — the thrice-renowned 
Goito-manufaoture. Then he found 
(Casting about to satisfy the crowd) 
He hM That happy vehicle, so late allowed, 
loved A sore annoyance; 'twas the song's 

8ong*B re- effect 

suite, not He cared for, scarce the song itself: 
«»»8J reflect ! 

In the past life, what might be singing's use ? 
Just to delight his Delians, whose profuse 
Praise, not the toilsome process which procured 
That praise, enticed Apollo : dreams abjured, 
No overleaping means for ends — take both 
For granted or ti^e neither I I am loth 
To say the rhvmes at last were Eglamor's ; 
But Naddo, chucklii^, bade competitors 
Gro pine ; ** the master certes meant to waste 
No effort, cautiously had probed the taste 
He 'd please anon : true bard, in short, disturb 
His title if they could ; nor spur nor curb. 
Fancy nor reason, wanting in him ; whence 
The staple of his verses, common sense : 
He built on man's broaa nature — gift of gifts. 
That power to build! The world contentea 

shifts 
With counterfeits enough, a dreary sort 
Of warriors, statesmen, ere it can extort 
Its poet-soul — that 's, after all, a freak 
(The having eves to see and toneue to speak) 
With our herd's stupid sterling nappiness 
So plainly incompatible that — yes — 
Tes — should a sou of his improve the breed 
And turn out poet, he were cursed indeed ! " 
** Well, there ^s Goitoand its woods anon, 
If the worst happen ; best go stoutly on 
Nowl" thought Sordello. 
80, most Ay, and goes on yet ! 

effect this Ton potl^er with your glossaries to 
to obtain get 

thooe. ^ notion of the Troubadour's intent 

In rondel, tenzon, virlai, or sirvent ~ 
Mudi as you study arras how to twirl 
His angelot, playtning of page and girl 
Once ; but you surely reach, at last, — or, no ! 
Never quite reach what struck the people so. 
As from the welter of their time he drew 
Its elements successively to view. 
Followed ^ actions backward on their course, 
And catching up, unmingled at the source. 
Such a strength, such a weakness, added then 
A touch or two, and turned them into men. 



Virtue took form, nor vice refused a shape ; 
Here heaven opened, there was hell agiqpe, 
As Saint this simpered past in sanctity. 
Sinner the other flared portentous by 
A greedy people. Then why stop, surprised 
At his success ? The scheme was realized 
Too suddenly in one respect : a crowd 
Praising, eyes (^uick to see, and lips as loud 
To speak, delicious homage to receive. 
The woman's breath to feel upon Ins sleeve. 
Who said,^ ** But Anaf est — wny asks he less 
Than Lucio, in your verses ? how confess. 
It seemed too much but yesterevel" — the 

youth, 

Who bade ^m earnestly, " Avow the truth ! 
Tou love Bianca, surely, from your song ; 
I knew I was unworthy I " — soft or strong. 
In poured such tributes ere he had arranged 
Ethereal ways to take them, sorted, chaoged. 
Digested. Courted thus at unawares. 
In spite of his pretensions and his cares, 
He can^t himself shamefully hankering 
After the obvious i>ettv joys that spring 
From true life, fain relinquish pedestal 
Heiao- And condescend with pleasures — 
ceedt a one and all 

little, but To be renounced, no doubt ; for, tlius 
'•U« to chain 

B^c^'B * Himself to single joys and so refrain 
From tasting their qumtessence, frustrates, 

sure. 
His prime design ; each joy must he abjure 
Even for love of it. 

He laughed : what sage 
But perishes if from his magic page 
He look because, at the first line, a proof 
'T was heard salutes him from the cavern roof ? 
** On I Give yourself, exdudii^ aught beside, 
To the day's task ; compel your slave provide 
Its utmost at the soonest ; turn the leal 
Thoronghlv conned. These lays of yours, in 

brief — 
Cannot men bear, now, something better? — 

fly 
A pitch beyond this unreal pageantry 
Of essences ? the period sure has ceased 
For such : present us with ourselves, at least. 
Not portions of ourselves, mere loves and hates 
Made flesh : wait not ! " 

Tries Awhile the poet waits 

•gain, !■ However. The first trial was 
DO better enough : 

■»**■**<*» He left imagining, to try the stuff 
That held the imaged thing, and, let it writhe 
Never so fiercely, scarce allowed a tithe 
To reach the light — his Language. How he 

sought 
The cause, conceived a cure, and slow re- 
wrought 
That Language, — welding words into the crude 
Mass from the new speech round him, till a ^ 

rude 
Armor was hammered out, in time to be 
Approved beyond the Roman panoply 
Melted to make it, — boots not. This obtained 
With some ado, no obstacle remained 
To using it ; accordingly he took 
An action with its actors, quite forsook 



SORDELLO 



89 



ffimself to live in each, returned anon 
With the resnlt — a oreatnre, and, by one 
And one, proceeded leiBniely to equip 
ItB limbs m hamesB of his workmanship. 
**' Aoeomplished 1 Listen, Mantnans ! '^ Fond 

essay I^ 
Piece after piece that armor broke away, 
BeoHise perceptions whole, like that he sought 
To clothe, reject so pure a work of thougrht 
As language : thougrht may take perception's 

place 
But hardly co-exist in any case, 
Bein^ its mere presentment — of the whole 
By parts, the umultaneous and the sole 
Br the sncoessiYe and the many. Lacks 
Tne crowd perception ? painfully it tacks 
Thought to thous^ht, which Sordello, needing 

such. 
Has rent perception into : it 's to dutoh 
And reconstruct — his office to diffuse. 
Destroy : as hard, then, to obtain a Muse 
As to become Apollo. '^ For the rest. 
Fen if some wondrous vehicle expressed 
TImb whole dream, what impertinence in me 
So to express it, who myselx can be 
The dream 1 nor. on the other hand, are those 
I sing to, OTer-likely to suppose 
kmA d^ A higher than tne highest I present 
Now, which they praise already : be 



And 



froa the content ^ 

ideal of Both parties, rather — they with the 
old verse, 

I with the oli praise — far go, fare 

worse I" 
A few adhering rivets loosed, upsprings 
Hie angel, sparkles off his mail, which rings 
Whxiiea from each delicatest limb it warps. 
So mig^t Apollo from the sudden corpse 
Of Hyacinth have cast his laokless quoits. 
He set to celebrating the ex]>loits 
Of MoBtfoit o'er the Mountaineers. 

Then came 
The world's revenge : their pleasure, now his aim 
Merely, — what was it ? Not to plav the fool 
So mnA. as learn our lesson in your school I " 
Beplied the world. He found that, every time 
He gained applause by any ballad-rhyme. 
His auditory recognized no jot 
As he intended, and, mistaking not 
Him for his meanest hero, ne'er was dunce 
SiilBcient to believe him — all, at once. 
His will . . . conceive it caring for his will I 
— Mantnans, the main of them, admiring still 
How a mere singer, ugly, stunted, weak. 
Had Montf ort at completely (so to speak) 
His fingers' ends; while past the praise-tide 

swept 
To Mmitfort, cither's share distinctly kept : 
The true meed for true merit I — his abates 
Whrt is Into a sort he most repudiates, 
tbe And on them angrily he turns. Who 

*«M'« were 

The Blantuans, aftor all, that he 

. should care 

J About their recognition, ay or no ? 
a spite of the convention months ago, 
(Wlqr bHnk the truth ?) was not he forced, to 

help 



This same ungrateful audience, every whelp 
Of Naddo's littor, make them pass from peers 
With the bright band of old Goito years. 
As erst he toiled for flower or tree? Why, 

there 
Sat Palma I Adelaide's funereal hair 
Ennobled the next comer. Ay, he strewed 
A fairy dust upon that multitude. 
Although he feigned to take them by them- 
selves ; 
His ^ants diprnified those puny elves, 
Subhme their faint applause. In short, he 

found 
Himself still footing a delusive round, 
Remote as ever from the self -display 
He meant to compass, hampered every way 
By what he hopea assistance. Wherefore then 
Continue, make believe to find in men 
A use he found not ? 

Weeks, months, years went by. 
And lo, Sordello vanished utterly. 
Sundered in twain ; each epectral part at strife 
With each : one jaired against another life ; 
How, poet The Poet thwarting hopelessly the 
no longer Man, 

in uuity Who, fooled no longer, free in fancy 
with man, j^^ ^' 

Here, there, ;?— let slip no opportunities 
As pitiful, forsooth, beside the prize 
To drop on him some no-time and acquit 
His constant faith (the Poet-half's to wit — 
That waiving any compromise between 
No joy and all joy kept the hunger keen 
Beyond most methods) — of incurring scoff 
From the Man-portion — not to be put off 
With self-refiectings by the Poet's scheme. 
Though ne'er so bright ; — who sauntered forth 

in dream. 
Dressed anyhow, nor waited mystic frames. 
Immeasurable gifts, astounding chums. 
But just his sorry self ? — who yet might be 
Somer for aught he in reality 
Achieved, so pinioned Man's the Poet-part, 
Fondling, in turn of fancy, verse ; the Art 
Developmg his soul a thousand ways — 
Potent, b^ its assistance, to amaze 
The multitude with majesties, convince 
Each sort of nature, that the natore's prince 
Accosted it. Language, the makeshift, grew 
Into a bravest of expedients, too ; 
Apollo, seemed it now, perverse had thrown 
Quiver and bow away, the lyre alone 
Sufficed. While, out of dream, his day's work 

went 
To tune a craz^ teiizon or sirvent — 
So hampered him the Man-part, thrust to pudge 
Between the bard and the bard's audience, 

grudge 
A minute's toil that missed its due reward I 
But the complete Sordello, Man and Bard, 
^ , , John's cloud-girt angeL this foot on 

Soidelio That on the sea, with, open in his 
goes hand, 

wrong A bitter-sweetling of a book — was 

gone. 
Then, if internal struggles to be one 
Which frittered him incessantly piecemeal. 



90 



SORDELLO 



Keferred, ne'er so obliquely, to the real 
Intrnding Mantnans I ever with some caU 
To action while he pondered, onoe for all. 
Which looked the easier effort — to pnmne 
This course, still lej^> o*er paltry joys, yearn 

liirough 
The present ill-appreciated stagre 
Of self-reyealment, and oompefthe age 
Know him ; or else, forswearing bard-craft, wajce 
From out his lethargy and nobly shake 
Off timid habits of denial, mix 
With men, enjoy like men. Ere he could &l 
Chi aught, in rushed the Mantuans ; much they 

cared 
For his i^rplexity ! Thus unprepared, 
The obvious if not onlv shelter lay 
With thoM In deeds, tne dull conventions of his 
toohwrd day 

for half of Prescribed the like of him : why not 
1»*»°» beghfcd 

'T is settled Fauna's minstreL, ^ood or bad, 
Submits to this and that established rule ? 
Let Vidal change, or any other fool, 
His murrev-colored robe for filamot, ^ 
And crop nis hair ; too skin-deep, is it not, 
Such vigor ? Then, a sorrow to the heart. 
His talk I Whatever topics they inight start 
Had to be groped for in nis consciousness 
Straight, and as straight delivered them by 

guess. 
Only obliged to ask himself, ** What was," 
A speedv answer followed ; but, alas. 
One of God's large ones, tardy to condense 
Itself into a period \ answers whence 
A tangle of conclusions mast be stripped 
At any risk ere, trim to pattern clipped. 
They matched rare specimens the miaiituan flock 
Kegaled him with, each talker from his stock 
Of sorted-o'er opinions, every stage. 
Juicy in youth or desiccate with age, 
Fruits like the fig-tree's, rathe-ripe, rotten-rich, 
Sweet^sonr, all tastes to take : a practice which 
He too had not impossibly attained, 
Once either of those fancy-flights restrained ; 
(For, at conjecture how inight words appear 
To others, playing there what happened here, 
And occupied abroad by what he spumed 
At home, ^t was slipped, the occasion he returned 
To seize :) he 'd strike that lyre adroitly — 

speech, 
Would but a twenty-cubit plectre reach ; 
A clever hand, consummate instrument. 
Were both brought close ; each excellency went 
For nothing^ else. The question Naddo asked, 
Had just a lifetime moderately tasked 
To answer, Naddo's fashion. More disgust^ 
Of whom And more : why move his soul, since 
he iB also move it must 
too con- At minute's notice or as good it 
temptuous. failed 

To move at all ? The end wad, he retailed 
Some ready-inade opinion, put to use 
This quip, that maxim, ventured reproduce 
Gestures and tones — at any folly caught 
Serving to finish with, nor too much sought 
If false or true 't was spoken ; praise and blame 
Of what he said grew pretty nigh the same 
— ^Meantime awards to meantime acts : his soul, 



Unequal to the compassing a whole. 

Saw, in a tenth part, less and less to strive 

About. And as for men in turn . . . oontriye 

Who could to ti^e eternal interest 

In them, so hate the worstj so love the best I 

Thoug:h, in pursuance of his passive plan. 

He hiuled, decried, the prox>er way. 

As Man 
So figured he ; and how as Poet ? Verse 
Came only not to a stand-still. The worse, 
That his poor piece of daUy work to do 
Was, not sink under any rivals ; who 
Hepleaaes Loudly and long enough, without 
neither these qualms, 

l^l'Q"?!' Turned, from Bocaf oli's stark-naked 
northern: paahns. 

To Plant's sonnets spoilt by toying with, 

^*' As knops that stud some almug to the pith 

PrickM tor gam, wry thence, and onnklM 

worse 
Than pursM eyelids of a river-horse 
Sunning himself o' the slime when whim the 

breeze" — 
Gad-fly^ that is. He inight compete with these ! 
But — but — 

** Observe a pompion-twine aflocit ; 
Pluck me one cup from on the castle-moat I 
Which the Alonf with cup you raise leaf, stalk 
best judges ana root, 

account The entire surface of the pool to 
'o'- boot. 

So could I pluck a cup, put in one song 
A single^ sight, did not my hand, too strong, 
Twitcn in Uie least the root-strings of the whole. 
How should externals satisfy my soul ? " 
** Why that 's precise the error Squarcialupe " 
(Hazarded Naado) ** finds ; * the man can't stoop 
To sing us out,' quoth he, * a mere romance ; 
He 'd tain do better than the best, enhance 
The subjects' rarity, work problems out 
Therewith.' Now, you 're a bard, a bard past 

doubt, 
And no philosopher ; why introduce 
Crotchets like these ? fine, surely, but no use 
In poetry — which still must be, to strike. 
Based upon common sense ; there 's nothing IDlo 
Appealing to our nature I what beside 
Was your first poetry ? No tricks were tried 
In that, no hollow tluills, affected throes ! 
' The man,' said we, * tells his own joys and 

woes: 
We '11 tmst him.' Would you have your songs 

endure? 
Build on the human heart I — why, to be sure 
Tours is one sort of heart — but 1 mean theira. 
Ours, every one's, the healthy heart one careB 
To build on I Central peace, mother of strength. 
That's father of . . . nay, go younelf that 

length. 
Ask those calm-hearted doers what they do 
When they have got liieir calm I And ia i^ 

true. 
Fire rankles at the heart of every globe ? 
Perhaps. But these are matters one may probe 
Too deeplv for poetic purposes : 
Rather select a theorv that . . . yes, 
Laugh I what does that prove ? — stations yoo 

midway 




SORDELLO 



91 



And fiiveB some little o'er-refiniiig. Na^^, 
That 'a rank injustioe doue me I I restrict 
Tlie poet ? Don't I hold the poet picked 
Out of a host of warriors, statesmen . . . did 
I tell 70a ? Very like I As well yon hid 
That aenee of power, yon have I True bards 

believe 
An able to aehieTc what they achieve — 
Hiat is, just nothing — in one point abide 
Prafoimaer simpletons than all beside. 
Oh, ay ! The knowled^ that you are a bard 
Mast ooostitate yonr prime, nav sole, reward I " 
So prattled Nadoo, bosieat of tne trioe^ 
Of geniaa-hannters — how shall I desoiibe 
What grabs or nips or rubs or rips — ^ yonr loose 
For lo^, joor flea for hate, magnanimous, 
Mali^^nant, PappaoodL Tagliafer, 
i^ckmg a sustenance trom wear and 



By implements it sedulous employs 
To naderiake, lay down, mete out, o*er^toise 
Soidello ? fifty creepers to elude 
At onee ! Tliey settled stanchly : shame ensued : 
Bdiold the monarch of mankind succumb 
To the last fool who turned him round his 

thnmb. 
As Naddo styled it ! 'T was not worth oppose 
Ihe matter of a moment, gainsay those 
He aimed at gettinsr rid of ; better think 
Their thong^hts ana speak their speech, secure 

to slink 
Back expeditiously to his safe place. 
And chew the cud — what he and wnat his race 
Were really, each of them. Yet even this 
CoDfarmity was partial. He would miss 
' Some point, brought into contact with them ere 
Assmred in what small segment of the sphere 
Of Us existenoe they attended him ; 
Whenee blunders, falsehoods rectified — a grim 
list — slur it over ! Uow ? If dreams were . 

tried. 
Bis will swayed sicklily from side to side, 
Hot merely neutralized his waking act 
Bat tended e'en in faucy to distract 
I The intermediate will, the choice of means, 
i Be lost the art of dreaming : Mantuan scenes 

Supplied a baron, say, he sang before, 
i Haadsomelj reckless, full to running o'er 
! Of gallantnes ; *' abjure the souL content 
; With body, therefore I " Scarcely had he bent 
' Himself ia dream thus low, when matter fast 
! Cri«l out, he found, for spirit to contrast 
I And task it duly : by advances slight, 
I IW simple stun becoming composite, 
! Coont Lori grew Apollo — best reoill 
! His fancy ! Then would some rough peasant- 
Paul, 
like those old Ecelin confers with, glance 
JEBs gay araarel o'er ; that countenance 
Gstbered lus shattered fancies into one, 
Aad, bodv dean abolished, soul alone 
the gray Panlician : by and by. 
To balance the ethereali^, 

were needed ; foiled he sank 



again. 
Meanwhile the world rejoiced ('tis 
time explain) 
a sadden sickness set it free 



From Adelaide. Missing the mother-bee. 
Her mountain-hive Romano swarmed ; at once 
A rustle-forth of daughters and of sons 
Blackened the valley. ** I am sick too, old. 
Half -crazed I think ; what good 's the Kaiser's 

gold 
To such an one ? God help me I for I catch 
My children's greedy sparkling eyes at watch — 
* He bears that double breast^te on,' they say, 
*So many minutes less than yesterday I ' 
Beside, Monk Hilary is on his knees 
Now, sworn to kneel and pray till God shall 

please 
Exact a punishment for many things 
You know, and some you never knew ; which 

brings 
To memory, Azzo's sister Beatrix 
And Kichard's Giglia are my Alberic's 
And Ecelin's betrothed : the Count himself 
Must get my Pahna : Gnibellin and Guelf 
Mean to embrace each other." So began 
Adelaide'! Romano's missive to his fightfng 
death : man 

what hap- Taurello — on the Tuscan's death, 
pens cm it : away 

With Friedrich sworn to sail from Naples' bay 
Next month for Syria. Never thunder-cU^ 
Ont of Vesuvius' throat, like this mishap 
Startled him. *^That accursed Vicenza! I 
Absent, and she selects this time to die I 
Ho. fellows, for Vicenza I " Half a score 
Of norses ridden dead, he stood before 
Romano in his reeking spurs : too late — 
** Boniface urged me, Este could not wait," 
The chieftain stammered; **let me die in 

peace — 
Forget me I Was it I who craved increase 
Of rule ? Do yon and Friedrich plot your worst 
Against the Father : as ^ou found me fiist 
So leave me now. Foigive me I Palma, sure, 
Is at Goito still. Retain that lure — 
Only be pacified I " 

The country rung 
With such a piece of news : on everv tongue, 
How Ecelin's great servant, congeed off. 
Had done a long day's service, so, might doff 
The green and yellow, and recover breath 
At Mantua, whither, — since Retrude's death, 
(The girlish slip of a Sicilian bride 
From Otho's house Jbe carried to reside 
At Mantua till the Ferrarese should pile 
A structure worthy her imperial style, 
The gudens raise, the statues there enshrine. 
She nev^ lived to see) — although his line 
Was ancient in her archives and she took 
A pride in him, that city, nor forsook 
Her child when he forsook himself and spent 
A prowess' on Romano surely meant 
For his own prowth — whitner he ne'er resorts 
If wholly satisfied (to trust reports) 
With Ecelin. So, forward in a trice 
Were shows to greet him. *' Take a friend's 

advice," 

§uoth Naddo to Sordello, ** nor be rash 
ecause your rivals (nothing can abadi 
Some folks) demur that we pronounced ^ou best 
To sound the great man's welcome ; 'tis a test, 
Remember ! Strojavacca looks asquint. 



92 



SORDELLO 



The ron^h fat sloven ; and there *s plenty hint 
Tour pinions have received of late a shock — 
Outsoar them, oobswan of the silver flock I 
. . 8ing well I " A signal wonder, song ^s 

Ana a ^^ wYdt 

Bioiu Sor- Fast the minutes flit : 

deUo. Another day, Sordello finds, will 

brine 
The soldier, and he cannot choose but sing ; 
So, a last shift, (^nits Mantua — slow, alone : 
Out of that aching brain, a very stone. 
Song must be struck. What occupies that 

front? 
Just how he was more awkward than his wont 
The night before, when Naddo, who had seen 
Tanrello on his progress, praised the mien 
For dignity no crosses could affect — 
Such was a joy, and might not he detect 
A satisfaction if establiwed jo3rs 
Were proved imposture ? Poetry annoys 
Its utmost : wherefore fret ? Verses may come 
Ch> keep away 1 And thus he wandered, dumb 
Till evening, when he paused, thoroughly spent. 
On a blind nill- top : down the gorge ne went, 
Tieldii^ himself up as to an embrace. 
The moon came out ^ like features of a face, 
A querulous fratermty of pines. 
Sad blackthorn clumps, leafless and grovelling 

vines 
Also came out, made gradually up 
The picture ; *t was Goito's mountain-cup 
And castle. He had dropped through one de- 
file 
He never dared explore, the Chief erewhile 

Had vanished by. Back rushed the 
°^ dream, enwrapped 

upSnis Him whoUy. 'Twas Apollo now 
off en- they lapped, 

vironmenty iuose mountams, not a pettish mm- 

strel meant 
To wear his soul away in discontent. 
Brooding on fortune^s malice. Heart and brain 
Swelled ; he expanded to himself again. 
As some thin seedling spice-tree starved and 

frail. 
Pushing between cat^s head and ibis* tail 
Crusted into the porphyry pavement smooth. 
— Suffered remain just as it sprung, to soothe 
The Soldan's pining daughter, never yet 
Well in her chilly ereen-glazed minaret, — 
When rooted up. the sunny day she died. 
And flung into the common court beside 
Its parent troe. Come home, Sordello ! , Soon 
Was he low muttering, beneath the moon. 
Of sorrow saved, of quiet evermore, — 
Since from the purpose, he maintained before, 
Only resulted wailing and hot tears. ' 
Bees but Ah, the dim castle I dwindled of 
faUure in late years, 

all done But more mysterious; gone to ruin 
■^^"l - trails 

Of vine through every loop-hole. Naught avails 
The night as, toroh in hand, he must explore 
The maple chamber : did I say, its floor 
Was made of intersectiin; cedar beams ? 
Worn now with gaps so large, there blew cold 
streams 



Of air quite from the dungeon ; lay your ear 
Close and 't is like, one after one, you hear 
In the blind darkness water drop. The nests 
And nooks retain their long ranged vesture- 
chests 
Emptv and smelling of the iris root 
The Tuscan grated o^er them to recruit 
Her wasted wits. Palma was gone tiiat day, 
Said the romaining women. Last, he la^ 
Beside the Carian group reserved and still. 
The Body, the Machine for Acting Will, 
Had been at the commencement proved unfit ; 
That for Demonstrating, Reflecting it. 
Mankind — no fitter : was the Wifl Itself 
Infault? 

His forehead pressed the moonlit shelf 
Beside the youngest marble maid awhile ; 
Then, raising it, he thought, with a long smile, 
and re- *^ I shall be king again ! " as he 
Bolves to withdrew 

desist The envied scarf ; into the font he 

from the threw 

***"• His crown. 

Next day, no poet I " Wherefore ? " asked 
Tanrello, when the dance of Jongleurs, masked 
As devils, ended ; '^ don't a song come next ? ^* 
The master of the pageant looked perplexed 
Till Naddo's whisper came to his relief. 
^^ His Highness knew what poets were : in brief, 
Had not the tetchy race prescriptive right 
To peevishness, caprice ? or, call it spite. 
One must receive tJieir nature in its length 
And breadth, exi>ect the weakness with the 

stren^h I *' 
— So phrasing, till, his stock of phrases spent. 
The easv-natured soldier smiled assent. 
Settled ms portly person, smoothed his chin. 
And nodded that the bull-biut might begin. 



BOOK THE THIRD 

And the font took them : let our laurels lie ! 

Braid moonfem now with mystic trifoly 

Because once more €roito gets, once more, 

Sordello to itself ! A dream is o*er, 

And the suspended life begins anew ; 

Quiet those throbbing temples, then, subdne 

Nataie That cheek's distortion! Kiitixre's 

may strict embrace, 

triumph Putting aside tne past, shall soon 

therefore ; efface 

Its print as well — factitious humors grown 
Over the true — loves, hatreds not his own — 
And tuin him pure as some forgotten vest 
Woven of painted byssus, silkiest 
Tufting the Tyrrhene whelk ^s pearl-aheeted 

lip. 
Left welter where a trireme let it slip 
I^ the sea, and vexed a satrap ; so the stain 
O' the world forsakes Sordello, with its pain^ 
Its pleasure : how the tinct loosening escapes. 
Cloud after cloud ! Mantua^s familiar shapes 
Die, fair and foul die, fading as they flit. 
Men, women, and the pathos and the wit. 
Wise speech and foolish, deeds to smile or sig^ 
For, good, bad, seemly or ignoble, die. 
The last face glances through tJie eglantines^ 



SORDELLO 



93 



He last Toice nrarmms, 'twixt the blossomed 

vines. 
Of Men, of that machine supplied by thought 
To eompass self-^roeption with, he sought 
Bt f onung half himself — an insane pulse 
Oi a god's blood, on clay it could convulse, 
Never transmute — on human sights and sounds, 
To watch the other half with ; irksome bouiuls 
It ebbs from to its source, a fountain sealed 
Fotever. Better sure be unrevealed 
Tlian part revealed : Sordello well or ill 
b finished : then what further use of Will, 
Point in the prime idea not realized. 
An oversight? inordinatelv prized. 
No less, and pampered with enougn of each 
Ddight to prove the whole above its reach. 
^' To need beoome all natures, yet retain 
Hie law of my own nature — to remain 
Myself, yet yearn ... as if that chestnut, think. 
Skoold jeam for this first larch-bloom crisp ana 

pinlL, 
Or thoee pale fragrant tears where zephyrs 

stanch 
Mirdi wonnds along the fretted pine-tree 
^^^ brandi ! 
Will and the means to show will, great and 

Msterial, spiritual, — abjure them all 

Save any so distinct, they mav be left 

To amuse, not tempt become ! and, thus bereft, 

Jnst as I fint was fashioned would I be I 

Nor, moQO^ it AfioUo now, but me 

Fcrfaer Thou visitest to comfort and be- 

MD, iBtaly friend I 

•five, dies Swim thou into my heart, and there 

■•■'"» an end, 

Snoe I poasess thee ! — nay, thus shut mine eyes 

And know, quite know, by this heart's fall and 

lise. 
When thoa dost bury thee in clouds, and when 
Oat-staadest : wherefore practise upon men 
To make that plainer to myself ? *' 

Slide here 
Over a sweet and solitary year 
Wasted ; or simply notice change in him — 
How eyu, once with exploring bright, grew dim 
And satiate with reoeivmg. Some distress 
Was caused, too, by a sort of consciousness 
Under the imbecility, — naught kept 
Tliat down; he slept, but was aware he slept. 
So, frostrsted : aB who brainsick made pact 
Krst with the overhaiu^ng cataract 
To deafen him, yet still (ustinguished plain 
His own blood's measured clicldi^ at nis brain. 

To finish. One declining Autumn day — 
Few birds about the heaven chill and gray, 
No wind that cared trouble the tacit woods — 
He sauntered home complacently, their moods 
Aeeording, lus and nature's. Everv spark 
Vvfoand Of Mantua life was trodden out ; so 
aiklost. dark 

The embers, that the Troubadour, who sung 
Haadreds of songs, forgot, its trick his tongue, 
lis eraft his brain, how either brought to pass 
^iliagatall; that faculty might class 
Wn any of Apollo's now. The year 
BflfSB to find its early promise sere 
As vdL Thna beauty vanishes ; thus stone 



Outlingers flesh : nature's and his youth gone. 
They left the world to you, and wished you joy, 
When, stopping his benevolent employ, 
A presage shuddered through the welkin ; harsh 
The earbh's remonstrance rollowed. 'T was the 

marsh 
Gone of a sudden. Mincio, in its place. 
Laughed, a broad water, in next morning's face. 
And, where the mists broke up inmiense and 

white 
I' the steady wind, burned like a spilth of light 
Out of the crashing of a myriad stars. 
And here was nature, bound by the same bars 
Of fate with him I 

BntDsture *^ No I youth once gone ia gone : 

is one Deeds let escape are never to be done, 

thing, man Leaf -fall and grasB-spring for the 
anoth e r — year ; for us — 
Oh forfeit I unalterably thus 
My chance ? nor two lives wait me, this to spend. 
Learning save that? Nature has time, may 

mend 
Mistake, she knows occasion will recur ; 
Landslip or seabreach, how a£Pects it her 
With her magnificent resources ? — I 
Must i>eiish once and perish utterly. 
Not any stroUings now at even-dose 
Down the field-path, Sordello ! by thorn-rows 
Alive with lamp^fiies, swimming spots of fire 
And dew, outlining the black cypress' spire 
She waits you at, £lys, who heard you first 
Woo her, the snow-month through, but ere she 

durst 
Answer 'twas April. Linden-fiower-time-long 
Her eyes were on the pround ; 't is July, stroi^ 
Now ; and because white dust-clouds overwhelm 
The woodside, here or by the village elm 
That holds the moon, she meets you, somewhat 

pale. 
But letting you lift up her coarse fiax veil 
And whisper (the damp little hand in yours) 
Of love, heart's love, your heart's love that en- 
dures 
Till death. Tush I No mad mixing with the 

rout 
Of haggard ribalds wandering about 
The hot torchlit wine-scentea island-house 
Where Friedrich holds his wickedest carouse, 
Paradii^,^ — to the gay Palermitans, 
Soft Messinese, dusk Saracenic clans 
Haying Nuocera holds, — those tall grave 
mnltifari- dazzling Norse, 
ousaym- High^heeked, lank-haired, toothed 
pathies, whiter than the morse, 

Queens of the caves of jet stalactites. 
He sent his barks to fetch through icy seas, 
The blind night seas without a saving star, 
And here in snowy birdskin robes they are, 
Sordello I — here, mollitious alcoves gut 
Superb as Byzant domes that devils built I 
— Ah, Byzant, there again I no chance to go 
Ever like august cheery Dandolo, 
Worshipping hearts about him for a wall, 
Condu<^^, blind eyes, hundred years and all. 
Through vanquished Byzant where friends note 

for him 
What pillar, marble massive, sardius slim, 
'T were fittest he transport to Venice' Square -^ 



94 



SORDELLO 



Flattered and promised life to touch them there 

Soon, by those fervid sons of senators ! 

No more lifes, deaths, loves, hatreds, peaces, 

wars! 
Ah, fragments of a whole ordained to be. 
Points in the life I waited I what are ye 
But roundels of a ladder which appeared 
Awhile the very platform it was reared 
To lift me on ? — that happiness I find 
Proofs of mj faith in, even in the blind 
Instinct which bade forego you all unless 
Ye led me past yourselves. Ay, happiness 
He may Awaited me ; the way lize should be 
neither re- used 

nouno«nor Was to acquire, and deeds like you 
Mtiafy; conduced 

To teach it by a self-revealment, deemed 
Life's very use, so long I Whatever seemed 
Progress to that, was pleasure ; aught that 

staged 
My reaching it — no pleasure. I have laid 
The ladder down ; I climb not ; still, aloft 
The platform stretches I Blisses strong and 

soft, 
I dared not entertain, elude me ; yet 
Never of what they promised could I get 
A glimpse till now ! The common sort, the 

crowd, 
Eidst, perceive ; with Being are endowed. 
However slight, distinct from what they oee, 
However bounded ; Happiness must be. 
To feed the first by gleanings from the last. 
Attain its qualities, and slow or fast 
Become what they behold : such peace-in-strife 
Bv transmutation, is the Use of Life, 
The Alien turning Native to the soul 
Or body — which instructs me ; I am whole 
There and demand a Palma ; had the world 
Been from voj^ soul to a like distance hurled, 
'T were Happiness to make it one with me : 
Whereas I must, ere I befrin to Be, 
Liolude a world, in flesh, I comprehend 
In spirit now ; and this done, what 's to blend 
With? Naught is Alien in the world — my 

Will 
Owns all already ; yet can turn it — still 
Less — Native, since my Means to correspond 
With Will are so unworthy, 't was my bond 
In the To tread the very josrs that tantalize 

process to Most now, into a grave, never to rise, 
which is I die then I Will the rest agree to 
pleasure, jie ? 

Next Age or no ? Shall its Sordello try 
Clue after c^ue, and catch at last the clue 
I miss ? — that 's underneath my finger too. 
Twice, thrice a day, perhaps, — some yearning 

traced 
Deeper, some petty consequence embraced 
Closer ! Why fled I Mantua, then ? — com- 
plained 
So much my Will was fettered, yet remained 
Content within a tether half the range 
I could assign it ? — able to exchange 
My ignorance (I felt) for knowledge, and 
Idle because I could thus understand — 
Could e'en have penetrated to its core 
Our mortal mystery, yet — fool — forbore. 
Preferred elaborating in the dark 



My casual stuff, by any wretched spark 
Bom of my predecessors, though one stroke 
Of mine had brought the flame forth I Mantua's 

yoke. 
My minstrel's-trade, was to behold mankind, — 
My own concern was just to bring my mind 
Behold, just extricate, for my acquist, 
Each object suffered stifle in the mist 
Which hazard, custom, blindness interpose 
Betwixt things and myself." 

Whereat he roee. 
The level wind carried above the firs 
Clouds, the irrevocable travellers, 
Onward. 

** Pushed thus into a drowsy copse. 
Arms twine about my neck, each eyeud drops 
Under a humid finger ; while there fleets, 
Outside the screen, a pageant time repeats 
Never again ! To be deposed, immured 
While re- Clandestinely — still petted, still aa- 
nunoiation sured 

ensures de- To govern were fatiguing work — 
spair. the Sight 

Fleeting meanwhiki 'Tis noontide: wreak 

ere night 
Somehow my will upon it, rather I Slake 
This thirst somehow, the noorest impress take 
That serves 1 A blastea bud displays yov, 

torn, 
Faint rudiments of the full flower unborn ; 
But who divines what glory coats o'erdasp 
Of the bulb dormant in the mummy's grasp 
Taurellosent?" . . . 

"Taurello? Palma sent 
Your Trouvere,^' (Naddo interposing leant 
Over the lost bard's shoulder) — '* and, belieTe, 
Tou cannot more reluctantly receive 
Than I pronoimce her message : we depart 
Together. What avail a poet*s heart 
Verona's pomps uid gauds ? five blades of gran 
Suffice him. News ? Why, where your maziaih. 

was. 
On its mud-banks smoke rises after smoke 
I' the valley, like a spout of hell new-broke. 
Oh, the world's tidings ! small your *i»ft*i|Wt I 

guess. 
For them. The father of our Patroness 
Has played Taurello an astounding trick, 
Parts between Ecelin and Alberio 
His wealth and goes into a convent : botk 
Wed Guelfs : the Count and Palma plighted 

troth 
A week since at Verona : uid they want 
You doubtless to contrive the marriage-chant 
Ere Kichiud storms Ferrara." Then was told 
The tale from the beginning — how, made bold. 
By Saltnguerra's absence, Guel& had burned 
And pill^^ed till he unawares returned 
To take revei^ : how Azzo uid his friend 
Were doing their endeavor, how the end 
O' the siege was nigh, and how the Count, 

leased 
From further care, would with his 
There is feast 

yet s WW Inaugurate a new and better rule, 
of escapuig Absorbing thus Romano, 
this ; " Shall I 

My master," added Naddo, " and suggest 



SORDELLO 



95 



How yon may olothe in a poetic Test 
lliese doing s, a t Verona ? Your response 
ToFklmal Wherefore jest ? ' Deoartatonoe?' 
A good resolye 1 In truth, I hardly hoped 
So prompt an aoquiesoenoe. Have you groped 
Out wisdom in the wilds here ? — Thon^ts 

ma,jr be 
Orer-poetical for poetry. 
Pearl-white, 3rou ^oets liken Pahna's neck ; 
And yet what spoils an orient like some speck 
Of seanine whites turning its own white gray ? 
You take me ? Curse the cicala ! *' 

One more day, 
One ere — appears Verona ! Many a group, 
(You mind) instructed of the osprey's swoop 
On lynx and ounce, was gathering — Chnstenr 

dom 
Sure to receive, whatever the end was, from 
Tlie erening's purpose cheer or detriment, 
Smoe Fiiedrioh only waited some eyent 
like this, of Ghibellins establishing 
TliemKlTes within Ferrara, ere, as King 
Of Lombardy, he *d glad descend there, wage 
Old warfare with the Pontiff, disengage 
Hk barons from the burghers, and restore 
The mle of Charlemagne, broken of yore 
By Hiklebrand. 

WUeh he I' the palace, each by each, 

■Dw takes Sordello sat and Palma : litue speech 
If obeying At first in that dim closet, face with 
Mdm: faoe 

2>eBptte Uie tumult in the market-place) 
KTrhanging quick low laughters: now would 




Word imon word to meet a sudden flush, 
Ak»k left off, a shifting lips' surmise — 
But for the meet part their two histories 

iMTO- Rao best through the locked fingers 

»- and linked arms. 

Us And so the night flew on with its 
k. alarms 
TiD in borst one of Palma's retinue ; 
**Now, Lady]'' gasped he. Then arose the 

two 
And leaned into Verona's air, dead-stiU. 
A balcony lay black beneath untU 
Got, *inia a gush of torchflre, gray-haired men 
Came on it amd harangued the people : then 
Sea-like that people surging to and fro 
Shooted, "^^ Hale forth the carroch — trumpets, 

ho, 
A floofish ! Run it in the ancient grooyes I 
Back from the belli Hammer — that whom 

behooyes 
Hay hear the League is up I Peal — learn who 

list, 
Vsrooa means not first of towns break tryst 
To^moRow with the League I " 

Enoup^h. Now turn — 
Over the eastern cypresses : discern I 
Is any beacon set a-glimmer ? 

Rang 
IW air with shouts that oyerpowered the dang 
0( the inoessant carroch, eyen : ** Haste — 
Ths candle 's at the gateway I ere it waste, 
Es^ soldier stand beside it, armed to inarch 
Widi Tiao Sampier through the eastern arch I " 
Fcoasa. 'a sncocned, Palma I 



Once again 
They sat together ; some strange thing in train 
To say, so difficult was Palma's place 
In taking, with a coy fastidious grace 
Like the bird's flutter ere it fix and feed. 
But when she felt she held her friend indeed 
Safe, she threw back her curls, began implant 
Her lessons: telling of another want 
Aaher (ioito's quiet nourished than his 

own hjflto- 



own 



rywillM- Palma — to serve him —to be seryed, 
ooimtfor, alone 

Importing ; -^^^es' milk so neutralized 

The blood of Ecelin. Nor be surprised 

If, while Sordello fain had captive led 

Nature, in dream was Palma subjected 

To scnne out-soul, which dawned not though she 

pined 
Delaying till its advent, heart and mind. 
Their life. ** How dared I let expand the force 
Within me, till some out-soid, whose resource 
It grew for, should direct it ? Every law 
Of life, its every fitness, every flaw, 
Must One determine whose corporeal shape 
Would be no other than thepnme escape 
And revelation to me of a Will 
Orb-like o'ershrouded and inscrutable 
Above, save at the point which, I should know, 
Shone that myself, my poweis, might oveiflow 
So far, so much ; as now it signifled 
Which earthly shape it henceforth chose my 

guide. 
Whose mortal lip selected to declare 
Its oracles, what fleshly garb would wear 
— The first of intimations, whom to love ; 
The next, how love him. Seemed that orb, 

above 
The castle-eovert and the mountain-close, 
Slow in appearing, — if beneath it rose 
Cravings, aversions, — did our green precinct 
Take pride in me, at unawares distinct 
With this or that endowment. — how, repressed 
At once, such jetting power shrank to the rest I 
Was I to have a chance touch spoil me, leave 
My spirit thence unfitted to receive 
The consummating spell ? — that spell so near 
Moreover I ' Waits ne not the waking year ? 
His almond-blossoms must be honey-npe 
Bv this ; to welcome him, fresh runnels stripe 
The thawed ravines ; because of him. the wind 
Walks like a herald. I shall surely nud 
Him now I ' 

** And chief, that earnest April mom 
Of Richard's Love-court, was it time, so worn 
A revene And white my cheek, so idly my 
to, and blood beat, 

oompto- Sitting that mom beside the Lady's 
tion of, his. feet 

And saying as she urompted ; till outburst 
One face mm. all uie faces. Not then first 
I knew it ; where in maple chamber glooms. 
Crowned with what sanguine-heart pomegran- 
ate blooms 
Advanced it ever ? Men's acknowledgment 
Sanctioned my own: 'twas taken, Palma's 

bent, — 
Sordello, — recognized, accepted. 

"Dumb 



96 



SORDELLO 



Sat she still sohemintc* Ecelin wonld oome 

Gaunt, soared, * Cesano baffles me,' he 'd say : 

* Better I fought it out, my father's way 1 

Strangle Ferrara in its drowning flats. 

And you and your Taurello yonder ! — what 's 

Komano's business there ? ' An hour's concern 

To cure the froward Chief ! — induce return 

As heartened from those overmeaning eyes, 

Wound up to persevere, ~ his enterprise 

Marked out anew, its engent of wit 

Apportioned, — she at liberty to sit 

And scheme against the next emergence, I — 

To covet her Taurello-flprite, made fly 

Or fold the wing — to con your horoscope 

For leave command those steely shafts shoot 

ope. 
Or straight assuage their blinding eagerness 
In blank smooth snow. What semblance of 

success 
To any ai my plans for making you 
How Abe Mme and Romano's? Break the 
ever as- first wall through, 

pired for Tread o'er the ruins of the Chief, 
hU Mke, supplant 

His sons beside, still, vainest were the vaunt : 
There. Salinguerra would obstruct me sheer, 
And tne insui>erable Tuscan, here. 
Stay me I But one wild eve that Lady died 
In her lone chamber : only I beside : 
Taurello far at Naples, and my sire 
At Padua, Elcelin away in ire 
With Alberic. She held me thus — a dutch 
Ciroum- ^o make our spirits as our bodies 
stanooB touch — 

helping or And so began flinging the past up, 
hindering. heaps 

Of uncouth treasure from their sunless sleeps 
Within her soul ; deeds rose along with dreams, 
Fragments of many miserable schemes. 
Secrets, more secrets, then — no, not the last — 
'Mongst others, like a casual trick o' the past. 
How . . . ay, she told me, gathering up her 

face. 
All left of it, into one arch-grimace 
To die with . . . 

*' Friend, 'tis gone 1 but not the fear 
Of that fell laup^hing, heard as now I hear. 
Nor faltered voice, nor seemed her heart grow 

weak 
When i' the midst abrupt she ceased to speak 
— Dead, as to serve a purpose, niark ! — for in 
Rushed o' the very instant Ecelin 
(How summoned, who divines ?) — looking as if 
He understood why Adelaide lay stiff 
Already in my arms ; for, *" Girl, how must 
I manage Este in the matter thrust 
Upon me, how unravel jrour bad coil ? — 
Since ' (he declared) * 't is on your brow — a soil 
Like hers diere I ' then in the same breath, 

* he lacked 
No counsel after all, had signed no pact 
With devils, nor was treason here or there, 
Goito or Yicenza, his affair : 
He buried it in Adelaide's deep grave, 
Would begin life afresh, now, — would not 

slave^ 
For any Friedrich's nor Taurello's sake ! 
What booted him to meddle or to make 



In Lombardy ? ' And afterward I knew 
The meaning of his propiise to undo 
All she had done — why marriages were made. 
New friendships entered on^ old followers paid 
With curses for their pains, — new friends' 

amaze 
At height, when, passing out by Gate Saint 

Blaise, 
He stopped snort in Yicenza, bent his head 
Over a mar's neck« — * had vowed,' he said, 
* Long since, nigh thirty years, because his wife 
And child were saved there, to bestow his life 
On God, his gettings on the Church.' 

"Exiled 
Within Goito, still one dream beguiled 
My days and. nights ; 't was found, the orb I 

sought 
ceaTaUut '^^ serve, those glimpses came of 
seemed Fomalhaut, 

posBible, No other: but how serve it? — 

authorize 
Ton and Romano mingled destinies ? 
And straight Romano^ an^ stood bemde 
Me who had else been Boniface's bride. 
For Salinguerra 't was, with neck low bent. 
And voice lightened to music, (as he meant 
To learn, not teach me,) who withdrew the pall 
From the dead past and straight revived it all, 
Maldng me see now first Romano waxed, 
Wherefore he waned now, why, if I relaxed 
My grasp (even 1 1) would drop a thing effete^ 
Frayed by itself, unequal to complete 
Its course, and counting every step astray 
By the in- A gain so much. Romano, every 
terrention wav 

of Balin- Stable, a Lombard House now — why 
if««"*' start back 

Into the very outset of its track ? 
This patching principle which late allied 
Our House witn other Houses — what beside 
Concerned the apparition, the^ first Kni|rht 
Who followed Conrad hither in such plight 
His utmost wealth was summed in hia one 

steed? 
For Eoelo, that prowler, was decreed 
A task, in the beginning hazardous 
To him as ever task can be to us ; 
But did the weather-beaten thief despair 
When first our crystal cincture of warm air. 
That binds the Trevisan, — as its spice-belt 
(Crusaders say) the tract where Jesus dwelt, — 
Furtive he pierced, and Este was to face — 
Despaired Saponian strength of Lombard 

grace? 
Tried he at making surer aught made sure. 
Maturing what already was mature ? 
No ; his heart prompted Ecelo, * Confront 
Este, inspect yourseu. What 's nature ? Wont. 
Discard three-parts your nature, and adopt 
Who rem- The rest as an advantage!' Old 
edied ill strength propped 

wrought The man who first grew Podeatii 
by Ecelin, among 

The Vicentines, no less than, while there 

sprung 
His jpalaoe up in Padua like a threat, 
Their noblest spied agrace, unnoticed yet 
In Conrad's crew. Thus far the object gained. 



SORDELLO 



97 



Bomaiio was established — has remained — 

'For are joa not Italian, truly peers 

With &te? "Azzo "better soothes our ean 

Than ** Alberic " ? or is this lion's-orine 

from orer-mounts ' (this yellow hair of mine) 

'So veak a eraft on Ag^es Este's stock ? ' 

(Thos went ne on with something of a mock) 

* Wherefore reooil, then, from the yery ffite 

Goneeded yon, refuse to imitate 

Tear model farther ? Este long since left 

Being mere Eete : as a blade its heft, 

Eite teqaired the Pope to further him : 

And yon, the Kaiser— whom your father's 

whun 
Foregoes or, better, neyer shall forego 
If Fauna dare pursue what Ecelo 
GoDunenceci, but Eoelin desists from : just 
As Adelaide of Susa could intrust 
Her donative, — her Piedmont giyen the Pope, 
Her Alzane-paas for him to shut or oi>e 
Tirixt France and Italy, — to the superb 
Msrilda'a ^rfeoting, — so, lest aujght curb 
Onr Adelaide's great couiiter>project for 
GiTing her TVentine to the Emperor 
With passage here from GJermany, — shall you 
Tike it, — my slender plodding tiuent, too 1* 
— Urged me Tanrello with his oalf-smile. 

"He 
As Pktron ai the scattered family ^ 
CoKTeyed me to his Mantua, Jcept in bruit 
Azzo's alliaiKyB and Richard's suit 
Until, the Kaiser excommunicate, 
* Nothing remains,' TaureUo said, * but wait 
Some rash prooedure : Palma was the link. 
As Agnes' ehild, between us, and they shrink 
^Aadj^B^n From losing Palma: judge if we 
fVQ^eet advance, 

for ha Your father's method, your inherit- 
2™ anoe! ' 

^ory^ 'Pli0 ^j X -^33 betrothed to Bonifaee 

At pMina by Taurello's self, took place 
1^ outrage of the Ferrarese : agam, ^ 
The day I sought Verona with the train 
Agreed for,-— by Taurello's policy 
CmiTieting Richard of the fault, smce we 
Were ptesent to annul or to confirm, — 
Richani. whose patience had outstayed its 

term, 
Qnitted Yenma for the siege. 

** And now 
Wliai glorr may engird Sordello's brow 
Tlnoogh this ? A month since at Oliero slunk 
All that was Ecelin into a monk ; 
B«t how eonld Salinguerra so forget 
Ha lieee of thirty yeare as grudge even yet 
Ote effort to recover him ? He sent 
Forthwith the tidings of this last event 
To Eeelin — declared that he, despite 
Ike recent folly, recognized his right 
Is otder Salinguerra : * Should he wring 
&• uttennoet advantage out, or fling 

tdianee away? Or were his sons now 



fT the Houw ? ' Through me Taurello's mis- 
sive sped ; 
My fs&er's answer will by me return. 
Behold ! * For him,' he writes, *' no more con- 



With strife than, for lus children, with fresh 

plots 
Of Friedrich. Old engagements out he blots 
For aye : TaureUo shall no more subserve. 
Nor Eoelin impose.' Lest this unnerve 
TaureUo at this jimcture, slack his grip 
Of Richard, suffer Uie occasion slip, — 
L in his sons' default (who, mating with 
Este, forsake Romano as the frith 
Its xnainsea for that firmland, sea makes head 
Against) I stand, Romano, — in their stead 
Airanme the station they desert, and give 
StiU, as the Kaiser's representative, 
Tanrello Ucense he demands. Midnight — 
Morning — by noon to-morrow, making light 
Which ahe Of the League's issue, we, in some 
wonld gay weed 

change Like yours, disguised together, may 
^S^ preoede - 

deUo s. The arbitrators to Ferrara : reach 
Him, let TaureUo 's noble accents teach 
The rest I^ Then say if I have misconceived 
Tour destiny, too readUy beUeved 
The Kaiser's cause your own I " 

And Palma 's fled* 
Though no affirmative disturbs the head, 
A dying lamp-flame sinks and rises o'er, 
Like the alighted planet PoUnx wore. 
Until, mom oreaking, he resolves to be 
Gate-v^ of this heut's blood of Lombardy, 
Soul of this body — to wield this aggregate 
Of souls and bodies^ and so conquer fate 
Though he should hve — a centre of disgust 
Even — apart, core of the outward crust 
He vivifies, assimilates. For thus 
I bring SordeUo to the r^turous 
Thus then, Exclaim at the crowd's cry, because 
having one round 

completed Of life was quite accomplished ; and 
a circle, he found 

Not on^ that a soul, whate'er its might. 

Is insufficient to its own delight. 

Both in corporeal organs and in skUl 

By means of such to body forth its WiU — 

And, after, insufficient to apprise 

Men of that WilL oblige them recognize 

The Hid by the Revealed — but that, the last 

Nor lightest of the struggles overpast, 

WiU he bade abdicate, which would not void 

The throne, might sit there, suffer he enjoyed 

Mankind, a vaned and divine array 

Incapable of homage, the first way, 

Nor fit to render inoidentaUy 

Tribute connived at, taken by the by, 

In jo^. If thus with warrant to rescind 

The Ignominious exile of mankind — 

Whose proper service, ascertained intact 

As yet, (to be by him themselves made act. 

Not watch Sordello acting each of them) 

Was to secure — if the true diadem 

Seemed imminent whUe our SordeUo drank 

The wisdom of that golden Palma, — thank 

Verona's Lady in her citadel 

Founded by (xaulish Brennus, legends teU : 

And trul^ when she left him, the sun reared 

A head hke the first damberer's who peered 

A-top the Capitol, his face on flame 

With triumph, triumphing tiU Manlius came» 



98 



SORDELLO 



Nor slight too mnch my rhymes — that spziog, 

cuspread, 
Dispart, oispene. lingering overhead 
Like an escM>e ox angels ! Rather say. 
The poet My transcendental platan ! mounting 
mMjpKan gay 

*n<' (An arohimage so conrts a novice- 

breathe, queen) 

With tremulous silvered trunk, whence branches 

sheen 
Laugh out, thick foliaged next, arshiver soon 
With colored buds, then glowing like the moon 
One mild flame, — last a pause, a burst, and 

Her ivor^ limbs are smothered by a £all. 

Bloom-flinders and fruitrsparkles and leaf -dust, 

Ending the weird work prosecuted just 

For her amusement ; he decrepit, stark, 

Dozes ; her uncontrolled delight may mark 

Apart — 

Yet not so, surely never so I 

Only, as cood my soul were suffered go ^ 

O'er the utfune : forth fare thee, put aside — 

Entrance thy synod, as a god may g^lide 

Out of the world he fills, and leave it mute 

For mjrriad ages as we men compute, 

Returning into it wiUiout a break 

Being O' the consciousness! They sleep, 

really In and I awake 

thefleah 0*er the lagune, being at Venice, 
at Venice, "* '^ N^te^ 

In just such songs as Eglamor (sav) wrote 
With heart and soul imd strength, for he be- 
lieved 
Himself achieving all to be achieved 
By singer — in such soi^ you find alone 
Completeness, judge the song and singer one, 
And either purpose answeredf, his in it 
Or its in him : while from true works (to wit 
Sordello^s dream-performances that will 
Never be more than dreamed) escapes there 

still 
Some proof, the singerVi proper life was 'neath 
The life his son^ exhibits, this a sheath 
To that ; a passion and a knowledge far 
Transcending these, majestic as thej are. 
Smouldered ; his lay was but an episode 
In the bard's life : which evidence you owed 
To some slight weariness, some looking^ff 
Or start-away. The childish skit or scoff 
In ** Charlemagne," (his poem, dreamed divine 
In every point except one silly line 
About the restiff daughters) — what may lurk 
In that? *^My life commenced before this 

work," 
(So I interpret the sigiiificance 
Of the bard's start aside and look askance) — 
** Mv life continues after: on I fare 
With no more stopping, possibly, no care 

. . To note the undercurrent, the why 

And mi^ ]^Q^ 

Ua o^m Where,^ when, o* the deeper life, as 

life aome- ^i>s jf^^^ now. 

tlmea, But. silent, shall I cease to live? 

For you I who sigh, * When shall it come to pass 
We read that storv ? How will he compress 
The future gains, his life's true budneas, 



Into the better lay which — that one flout, 
Howe'er inopportune it be, lets out — 
Engrosses him already, though professed 
To meditate with us eternal rest. 
And partnership in all his life has found ? ' " 
'T is out a sailor's promise, weather-bound: 
*^ Strike siul, slip cable, here the bark be moored 
For once, the awning stretched, the poles as- 
sured! 
Noontide above ;^ except the wave's enap dash, 
Or buzz of colibri, or tortoise' spla^ 
The inargin 's silent : out with every spml 
Made in our tracking, coil by mighty ooSl, 
This serpent of a river to his heiM 
r the midst I Admire each treasure, as we i 

spread 
The iMuik,^ to help us tell our history 
Aright : give ear, endeavor to descry 
The groves of giant rushes, how they grew 
Like demons' endlong tresses we sailedtfarongh, 
What mountains srawned, forests to give us veni 
Opened, each doleful side, yet on we went 
Till . . . may that beetle (shake your cap) «^ 

test 
The springing of a land-wind from the West !'* 
— Wherefore ? Ah yes, you frolic it to-day t 
To-morrow, and, the pageant moved away 
Down to the poorest tent-pole, we and yoa 
Part company : no other may pursue 
Eastwardvour vovage, be informed what fate 
Intends, if triumph or decline await 
The tempter of the everlasting steppe. 

I muse this on a ruined palace-step 
At Venice : why should I break off, nor ait 
Longer upon m^r step, exhaust the fit 
England gave birth to ? Who 's adoraUe 

Enough reclaim a no SordeUo's Will 

Alack ! — be queen to nie ? That Baasaoeae 

Buned amoi^ her smoking f mit-boata ? Theae 

Perhaps from our delicious Asolo 

Who twinkle, pigeons o'er the portico 

Not prettier, bma June lilies into dbeaves 

To deck the bridge-side chapel, dropping leaT«a 

Because it Soiled Dy their own loose gom-meal f 

Is feasant Ah, beneath 

to be The cool arch stoops she, browneat 

young, cheek I Her wreath 

Endures a month — a half month — if I malce 

A queen of her, continue for her sake 

SonleUo's storv ? Nay, that Paduan girl 

Splashes with oarer legs where a live whirl 

In the dead black Giudecca proves sea-weed 

Drifting has sucked down three, four, aU indeed 

Save one pale-red striped, pale-blue tiir1>aiied 

post 
For gondolas. 

Ton sad dishevelled ghost 
That pluck at me and point, are you advised 
I breathe ? Let stay those girls (e'en her 

guised 

— Jewels i' the locks that love no orownet Klco 
Their native field-buds and the green wheaKi 

spike. 
So fair ! — who left ibis end of June's 
Shook off, as might a lily its gold soil. 
Pomp, save a foolish gem or ^o, and free 

In dream, came join me peasants o'er the 

Look they too happy, too tricked out ? Conffi 



> 



^ 



SORDELLO 



99 



There is saeh iii»aTd stock of happiness 

To flhaie, thai, ao one's nttermoet, dear wretch, 

One lahais meffectoally to streteh 

Voald bat ^ o'er yon so that mother and chil- 

■JEering dren, both 

hnwiMiity Mav equitably flaunt the sumptor- 

•Itow! clothl 

DiTide the robe yet farther : be content 

¥n.th seeine pist a score pre-eminent 

nuoa^h shreds of it, acknowledged happy 

wiffhtB. 
fiigroflriiiff wnat should furnish all, bv rights I 
Fo^ Ukeea in evidence, you clearlier claim 
A like garb for the rest. — grace all, the same 
As these my peasants. I ask yontli and strength 
And health for each of vou, not more — at length 
Gkrown wise, who asked at home that the whole 



Might add the spirit's to the body's grace. 
And all be dizened out as chiefs and bards. 
But in this map;ie weather one discards 
Xneh old requirement. Venice seems a tyfMd 
Of Life — 'twixt blue and blue extends, a stripe. 
As Life, the somewhat, hangs 'twixt naught 

aad naus^t: 
'T is Yenice, and 't is Life — as good you 

aooght 
To spure me the Piazza's slipiMry stone 
Or keen me to the unchoked canals alone, 
As hinder Life the eyil with the good 
Whidi make up LiTinjg:. rightly understood. 

Only, do finian something 1 Peasants, 

queens. 
Take them, made happy by whatever 
means, 

Fnade Uiem for the conmion credit, vouch 
That a Inekless residue, we send to crouch 
In eoraers out of sight, was just as framed 
For banpiiMmi, its portion might have claimed 
As well, and so, obtaining joy, had stalked 
Pastooos as any I — such my project, balked 
Already ; I hardly venture to adjust 
The fint rags, when you find me. To mistmst 
He ! — DOT unreasonabW. You, no doubt, 
Hare tiie true knack of tiring suitois out 
With thoae thin lips on tremble, lashless eyes 
Inveterately tear-shot — there, be wise. 
Mistress of mine, there, there, as if I meant 
Yon. imanlt I — shall your friend (not slave) be 

ahent 
For speakiog home ? Beside, care-bit erased 
BrokeiMip beauties ever took my taste 
Sapvemely : and I love you more, far more 
Than her I looked should foot Life's temple- 

uoor. 
Years ago, leagues at distance, when and where 
A whisper came, ** Let others seek I — th;^ care 
Is found, thy life's provision ; if thy 
iyeiMa> race 

l^onld be thy mistress, and into one 
face 



The many faoes crowd ? " Ah, had I, judsre, 
0^ BO, your secret ? Rough apparel — gruoge 
All onaments save tag or tassel worn 
Te hist we are not thoroughly forlorn — 
^ se th bonnet, unloop mantle, careless go 
Ahas (that 's saddest, but it must be so) 
Thioegh Vemoe, sing now and now glanoe aside. 



Aught desultory or undignified, — 

Then, ravisldngest lady, will you pass 

Or not each f orniidable group, the mass 

Before the Basilic (that feast gone b^r, 

Grod's great day of the Corpus I>omuii) 

And, wistfully foregoing proper men. 

Come timid up to me for alms ? Ana then 

The luxury to hesitate, feign do 

Some unexampled grace I — when, whom but 

you 
Dare 1 bestow your own u^n ? And hear 
Further before you say, it is to sneer 
I call you ravishing ; for I regret 
Little that she, whose early foot was set 
ForUi as she 'd plant it on a pedestal. 
Now, i' the silent city, seems to fall 
Toward me — no wreath, only a lip's unrest 
To quiet, surcharged eyelids to be pressed 
Dry of weir tears upon my bosom.^ Strange 
Such sad chance should produce in thee such 

changB, 
My love 1 Warped souls and bodies 1 yet God 

spoke 
Of right-hand, foot and eye — selects our yoke, 
Sordello, as your ix)etship may find I 
So, sleep upon my shoulder, child, nor mind 
Their foolish talk ; we '11 manage reinstate 
Your old worth ; ask moreover, when the^ prate 
Of evil men past hope, " Don't each oontnve. 
Despite the evil you abuse, to live ? — 
Keeping, each losel, through a maze of lies. 
His own conceit of truth ? to which he hies 
By obscure windings, tortuous, if you will. 
But to himself not inaccessible ; 
He sees truth, and his lies are for the crowd 
Who cannot see ; some fancied right allowed 
His vilest wrong, empowered the losel dutch 
One pleasure from a multitude of such 
As those Denied him." Then assert, " All 
who deatot men appear 

should To think all better than themselves, 

remember. ^^y here 

Trusting a crowd they wrong ; but really," say, 
** Ail men think all men stupider than they, 
Sinoei save themselves, no other comprehends 
The complicated scheme'to make amends 
— Evil, the scheme by which, through Igno- 
rance, 
Good labors to exist." A sHght advance, — 
Merely to find the sickness you die through, 
And naught beside ! but if one can't eschew 
One's portion in the common lot, at least 
One can avoid an ignorance increased 
Tenfold by dealing out hint after hint 
How naught were like dispensing without stint 
The water of life — so easy to dispense 
Beside, when one has probed the centre whence 
Commotion 's bom — could tell yon of it all I 
^^ — Meantime, just mediteto my madrigal 
O' the mugwort that conceals a dewdrop safe I " 
What, duuard ? we and you in smothery chafe. 
Babes, baldheads, stumbled thus far into Zin 
The Horrid, getting neither out nor in, 
A hui^n7 sun above us, sands that bung 
Our throats, — each dromedary loUs a tongue. 
Each camel chums a sick and frothy chap. 
And you, 'twixt tales of Potiphar's mishap. 
And sonnete on the earliest ass that spoke^ 



ICX> 



SORDELLO 



8 



— Remark, you wonder any one needs ohoke 
WiUi founts about! Potsherd him, Gibeon- 

itosl 
While awkwardly enough your Moses smites 
The rock, though he forego his Promised Land 
Thereby, have Satan chum his carcass, and 
Figm'e as Metaphvsio Poet . . . ah, ^ 
Mark ye the dim nrst oozings ? Meribah !^ 
Then, quaffing at the fount my courage gained, 
RecaU — not that I prompt ye — who ex- 
plained . . . 
'^ Presumptuous ! " interrupts one.^ You, not I 
'T is, brouier, marvel at and magnify 
Let the Such office : ^^ office,^ quotha? can 
poet take we get 

ids own To the beginning of the office yet ? 
part, then, What do we here ? simply experiment 
Each on the other's power and its intent 
When elsewhere tasked, — if this of mine were 

trucked 
For yours to cither's good, — we watch con- 
struct. 
In short, an ei^;ine : with a finished one. 
What it can do, is aU, — naug^ht, how 't is done. 
But this of ours yet in probation, dusk 
A kernel of strange wheelwork through its husk 
G^ws into shape by quarters and by halves : 
Remark this tooth's spring, wonder what tnot 

valve's 
Fall bodes, presume each faculty's device, 
"Make out each other more or less precise — 
The scope of the whole engine 's to be proved : 
We die: which means to say, the whole ' 

removed, 
Dismounted wheel by wheel, this complex 

gin* -* 
To be set up anew elsewhere, begin 

A task indeed, but with a clearer dime 

Than the murk lodgment of our buildii^time. 

And then, I grant you, it behoves forget 

How 't is done — all that must amuse us yet 

So long : and, while you turn upon your heel, 

Ihray mat I be not busy slitting steel 

Should any Or shredding brass, camped on some 

object that virgin shore 

he was Under a cluster of fresh stars, be- 

dull fore 

I name a tithe o' the wheels I trust to do I 

So occupied, then, are we : hitherto. 
At present, and a weary while to come. 
The office of ourselves, — nor blind nor dumb. 
And seeing somewhat of man's state, — has been, 
For the worst of us, to say they so have seen ; 
For the better, what it was they saw ; the best 
Impart the gift of seeing to the rest : 
*^&> that I glance," says such an one, " around, 
And there 's no face but I can read profound 
Disclosures in ; this stands for hope, that — fear, 
And for a speech, a deed in proof, look here ! 
* Stoop, else the strings of blossom, where the 

nuts 
O'erarch, will bUnd thee I Said I not? She 

shuts 
Both eyes this time, so dose the hazels meet I 
Thus, prisoned in the Piombi, I repeat 
Events one rove occasioned, o'er and o'er, 
Putting 'twixt me and madness evermore 
Thy sweet sh^>e, Zanze I Therefore stoop I * 



'That'strathP 
(Adjudge you) ^ the incarcerated youth 
Would say that I ' 

Youth? Phira the bard? Setdown 
That Plara spent his vouth in a grim town 
Whose cramped ill-featured streets huddled 

about 
The minster for protection, never out 
Of its black belfry's shade and its bells' roar. 
The brighter shone the suburb, — all the mors 
Ugly and absolute that shade's reproof 
Of any chance escape of joy, — some roof. 
Taller than they, allowed the rest detect, — 
Before the sole permitted laugh (suspect 
Who could, 't was meant for laughter, that 

I>lougned cheek's 
Repulsive gleam !) when the sun stopped both 

peaks 
Of the cleft belfry like a fiery wedge, 
Then sank, a huge flame on its 8oeKetedge« 
With leavii^ps on the gray glass oriel-pane 
Ohastl^ some minutes more. No fear of rain — 
The minster minded that 1 in heaps the dust 
Lay everywhere. This town, the minster's troBfc, 
Beside his Held Plara; who, its denizen, bade 
sprightUer hail 

predeces- In twice twdve sonnets, Tempe's 
aors. dewy vale." 

*** Exact the town, the minster and the 

street!' " 
'* As all mirth triumphs, sadness means defeat : 
Lust triumphs and is gay. Love 's triumphed 

o'er 
And sad : but Ludo 's sad. I said before, 
Love 's sad, not Lucio ; one who loves maj 

be 
As gay his love has leave to hope, as he 
Downcast that lusts' desire escapes the springe : 
' T is of the mood itself I speak, what tinge 
Determines it, else colorless, — or mirth. 
Or melancholy, as from heaven or earth." 
'"'' ^ Ay, that 's the variation's gist! ' 

Indeed? 
Thus far advanced in saf etv then, proceed I 
And hsving seen too what 1 saw, be bold 
And next encounter what I do behold 
(That 's sure) but bid you take on trust I " 

Attack 
The use and purpose of such sights ? Alack, 
Not so unwisely does the crowd dispense 
On Salinguerras praise in preference 
One ought To the Sordelios : men of action, 
not blame these I 

but praise Who, seeing just as little as you 
this ; please, 

Yet turn that little to account, — engage 
With, do not gaze at, — carry on, a stage. 
The work o' the world, not merely make report 
The work existed ere their day ! In short. 
When at some future no-time a brave band 
Sees, using what it sees, then shake my hand 
In heaven, my brother! Meanwhile where '*8 

the hurt 
Of keeping the Makers^ee on the alert. 
At whose defection mortals stare aghast 
As though heaven's bounteous wmdows were 

slammed fast 
Incontinent ? Whereas all jrou, beneath, 



^ 



SORDELLO 



loi 



AtiQ 

ewoaadi- 
eoeemiy: 



Skwld soowlatf braise their lips and break their 

teeth 
Wh) plj the pollies, for neglecting von : 
And tDerefore haye I monldedf made anew 
A Man, and eive him to be tnmed and tried. 
Be angry with or pleased at. On your side, 
Hare ye times, places, actors of your own ? 

Try them upon Sordello when full- 
grown, 

And then — ah then! If Hercules 
first parched 

His foot in Egypt only to be nuirohed 
A taerifice for Jove with pomp to suit, 
Wlat efaanoe have I ? Tne demigod was mute 
Tin, at the altar, whrae time out of mind 
Sneh gaeetB became oblations, chaplets twined 
Hii forehead loi^ enough, and he began 
^™ the slayers, nor escaped a man. 
Tab not a£&ont, my gentle auidienoe I whom 
NoHefcnles shall make his hecatomb, 
fielie?e, nor from his brows y6ur chaplet rend — 
Hat's joar kind suffitige, yours, my patron- 

Inend, 
WhoR great Terse blares unintermittent on 
like jma own trumpeter at Marathon, — 
Too who, Platiea ana Salamis being scant, 
Pat vp with ^tna for a stimulant — 
And aid well. I acknowledged, as he loomed 
Over the midland sea last month^ presumed 
I^>OK, lay demoliahed in the blazmg West 
At ere, while towards him tilting cloudlets 

like reisian ships at Salamis. Friend, wear 

Aerestprtrad as desert while I declare 

Hadlaflawleas ruby fit to wring 

Han of its color from that i>ainted king 

"00 loat it, I would, for that smile which 

went 
Tomy heart fluig it in the sea, content, 
Wbtif Wearing your verse in place, an 
^g amulet 

^J^^^ Sovereign against all passion, wear 
and fret I 



vhlkMwK? 



I^^fiogliah Eyebright, if you are not glad 
fni, at I stopped my task awhile, the sad 
j^dievdled form, wherein I put mankind 
Tottme at times and keei> my pact in mind, 
ipBeved me, — hear no crickets in the hedge, 
^or let a gj owworm spot the river's edge 
At home, and may the summer showers gush 
Without a warning from the missel thrudi 1 
So, to our bosineas, now — the fate of such 
«find our common nature — overmuch 
j^B^Pued because restricted and unfit 
Jo bear the burden they impose on it — 
^^ when they woukl discard it ; craving 

itrength 
'otaap from the allotted world, at length 
g^ do leap, — flounder on without a term, 
pdi a god'B germ, doomed to remain a germ 
Jf'^'Puded infancy, unless . . . 
?that 's the story — dull enough, confess 1 
^oe might be fitter subjects to allure ; 
^ neither misconceive my portraiture 
j?>odervalue its adornments quaint : 
ff^aeems a fiend perchance may prove a saint. 
tf^ a story ancient pens transmit, 
^ VB aay if you condemn me or acquit. 



John the Beloved, banished Antioch 
For Patmos, bade collectively his flock 
Where- 'Farewell, but set apart the closing 
upon, with eve 

aatoiyto To comfort those his exile most 
the pomt, ^ould grieve, 
He knew : a touching spectacle, that house 
In motion to receive him ! Ximthus* spouse 
You missed, made panther's meat a month 

, since; but 
Xanthus himself (his nephew 't was, they shut 
'Twixt boards and sawed asunder), Polvcarp, 
Soft Charide, next year no wheel could warp 
To swear by Csesar's fortune, with the rest 
Were ranged ; through whom the gray disciple 

pressed, 
Busily blessing right and left, just stopped 
To pat one infant's curls, the ha^niian cropped 
Soon after, reached the portal, (m its hinge 
The door turns and he enters: what quick 

twinge 
Ruins the smiling mouth, those wide eyes fix 
Whereon, why like some spectral candlestick's 
Branch the disciple's arms r Dead swooned he, 

woke 
Anon, heaved sigh, made shift to gasp, heart- 
broke, 
" (ret thee behind me, Satan I Have I toiled 
To no more purpose ? Is the gospel foiled 
Here too, and o'er my son's, my Xanthus* 

hearth, 
Portrayed with sooty garb and features 

swarth — 
Ah, Xanthus, am I to thy roof be^^uiled 
To see the — the — the Devil domiciled ? ' ' 
Whereto sobbed Xanthus, ** Father, 'tis your- 
self 
Installed, a limning which our utmost pelf 
Went to procure i^;ainst to-morrow's loss ; 
He takes And that 's no twy5>rong, but a pas- 
up the toral cross, 

thread of You 'repainted with ! " 
diaoourae. Hjg puckered brows unfold — 

And you shall hear Sordello's story told. 



BOOK THE FOURTH 

Meantime FOTrara lay in rueful case ; 

The lady-city, for whose sole embrace 

Her pair of suitors struggled, felt their arms 

A brawny mischief to the fragile charms 

They tuj;ged for — one discovering that to 

twist 
Her tresses twice or thrice about his wrist 
Secured a point of vantage — one, how best 
He 'd parry that by planting in her breast 
His elbow spike — each party too intent 
Ma 8uf *"" '^^^^^^'•"S:^ howe 'er the battle went, 

ferSi much, ^h® conqueror would but have a 

corpse to kiss. 
^* May Boniface be duly damned for this I " 
— Howled some old Gmbellin, as up he turned, 
From the wet heap of rubbish where they 

burned 
His house, a little skull with dazzling teeth : 
*^ A boon, sweet Christ — let Sahnguerra seethe 
In hell forever, Christ, and let mj^elf 



I02 



SORDELLO 



Be there to laneh at him I " — moaned some 

Youig Gaelf 
Stambliiis: upon a shriyelled hand nailed faat 
To the charred lintel of the doorway, last 
His father stood within to bid him speed. 
The thoroughfares were overrun witn weed 
— Docks, quitohgraas, loathy mallows no man 

plaiitB. 
The stranger, none of its inhabitants 
WhicheTer Crept out of doon to taste fresh air 
of the par- again. 

ties wM And ask the purpose of a splendid 
▼Ictor. train 

Admitted on a morning ; every town 

Of the East League was come by envoy down 

To treat for Richard's ransom : here you saw 

The Vioentine, here snowy oxen draw 

The Paduaa carrooh, its vermilion cross 

On its white field. A-dptoe o'er the fosse 

Looked Legate Montelungo wistfully 

After the nock of steeples he mifi^ht spy 

Li Este's time, gone (doubts he) long ago 

To mend the ramparts : sure the laggards know 

The Pope 's as good as here I Tliey paced the 

streets 
More soberly. At last, ** Taurello greets 
The League,'' announced a pursuivant, — ** will 

match 
Its courtesy, and labors to dispatch 
At earliest Tito, Friedrich's Pretor, sent 
On pressing matters from his post at Trent, 
With Mainard Count of Tyrol, — simply waits 
Their going to receive the delegates. '^ 
*''' Tito ! " ^ Our delegates exchanged a glance, 
And, keeping the main way, admired Mkanoe 
The lazy engines of outlandish birth. 
Couched like a king each on its bank of earth — 
Arbalist, manganeland catajmlt ; 
While stationed by, as waiting a result. 
Lean silent gang»of mercenaries ceased 
Working to watch the strangers. "This, at 

least. 
Were better spared ; he scarce presumes gainsay 
The League's decision 1 Get our friend away 
And profit for the future : how else teach 
Fools 't is not safe to stray within claw's reach 
Ere Salinguerra's final gasp be blown ? 
Those mere convukive scratches fi^ the bone. 
Who bade hira bloody the spent osprey's uare ? " 

The carrochs halted in the pubuc square. 
Pennons of every blazon once arflaunt. 
Men prattled, freelier that the crestea gaunt 
How White ostrich with a horsenshoe in 

Guelfs her beak 

criticlaa Was missing, and whoever chose 
OhibeUin might speak 
^o'J^ " EceUn '^ boldly out : so, — " Eoelin 

Needed his wife to swallow half the sin 
And sickens by himself: the devil's whelp. 
He styles his son, dwindles away, no help 
From conserves, your fine triple-curded troth 
Of virj^n's blood, your Venice viper-broth — 
Eh ? Jubilate I " — " Peace ! no Httle word 
You utter here that 's not distinctly heard 
Up at Oliero : he was absent sick 
When we besieged Bassano — who, i' the thick 
0| the work, perceived the progress Azzo made. 
Like Eoelin, through his witch Adelaide ? 



She managed it so well that, night by night, 
At their Md-f oot stood up a soidier^iite, 
First fresh^ pale by-and-by without a wound, 
And, when it came with eyes filmed as in swound, 
They knew the place was taken." — ** Ominous 
7?hat GhibeUins should get what cautelous 
Old Redbeard sought from Azzo's sire to wrench 
Vainly; 8aint George contrived his town a 

trench 
O' the marahes, an impermeable bar." 
" — Young EccJin is meant ihe tutelar 
Of Padua, rather ; veins embrace upon 
His hand like Brenta and Bacchiglion." 
What now? — " The fountsi God's bread, 

touch not a plank I 
A crawling hell of carrion — every tank 
As tmuBu- Choke full I — found out just noiw to 
ally ener- Cino's cost — 
getio in The same who gave TaureUo np for 
thiscaae. lost. 

And, making no account of fortune's freaks. 
Refused to budge from Padua then, but sneaks 
Back now with Conoorezzi — 'faith I they drag 
Their canooh to San Vitale, plant the futg 
On his own palace, so adroitly rased 
He knew it not ; a sort of Guelf folk g[azed 
And laughed apart ; Cino disliked their air — 
Must pluck up spirit, show he does not oaie — 
Seats himself on the tank's ed^ — will begin 
To hum, za, za^ Cavaler Ecelm — 
A silence ; he gets warmer, clinks to chime, 
Now both feet plough the ground, deeper each 

time. 
At last, za, za, and up with a fierce kick 
Comes his own motner's face caught by the 

thick 
Gray hair about his spur I " 

Which means, they lift 
The covering, Salinguerra made a shirt 
To stretch upon the truth ; as well avoid 
Further disclosures ; leave them thus employed. 
Our dropping Autunm morning clears apace. 
And poor Ferrara puts a softened face 
On her misfortunes. Let us scale diis tall 
Huge f oursouare line of red brick garden-wall 

Bastioned within by trees of everv 
How.pMs- 8ort 

th^ueh ^ three sides, slender, spreading, 

thenra long and short ; 

garden, Each grew as it contrived, the poplar 

ramped. 
The fig-tree reared itself, — but stark and 

cramped. 
Made fools of, Uke tamed lions : whence, on the 

edge. 
Running 'twizt trunk and trunk to smooth aiD& 

ledge 
Of ^lade, were shrubs inserted, warp and wocvf , 
Which smothered up that variance. Scale tlie 

roof 
Of solid tops, and o'er the slope vou slide 
Down to a grassy space level ana wide. 
Here and there dotted with a tree, but trees 
Of rarer leaf, each foreigner at ease. 
Set by itself : and in the centre spreads. 
Borne upon three unea^ leopards' heads, 
A laver, broad and shallow, one bright spirt 
Of water bubbles in. The walls begirt 



SORDELLO 



103 



With trees leave off on either hand ; pmnne 

T4iiirpath along a wondrous avenne 

IVms walls abat on, heaped of gleamy stone, 

With aloes leering eyerywhere, gray-grown 

ftam many a Moorish summer : how they wind 

Out of the fiasorea I likelier to bind 

The bnilding than those msted cramps which 

drop 
Already in the eating smishine. Stop, 
Yon fleeting shapes aboye there I Ah,^ the piide 
Or else despair of the whole country-side 1 
A noge of statues, swarming o W with wasps, 
Sdagimw God, goddess, woman, man, the 
n ca»> Greek rough-rasps 

MnAior In crumbling Naples marble — meant 
•poipose, to look 

like iJiose Messina marbles Constance took 
Ddiglit UL, or Taurello^s self convened 
To Mantua for his mistress, Adelaide, 
A eortain font with caryatides 
Snee cloistered at Goito ; only, these 
Are up and doing, not abashed, a troop 
AUe to right themseWes — who see you, stoop 
lUr azms o' the instant after you I Unulucked 
By this or that, tou pass ; for they conduct 
To tersaee raisea on terrace, and, betweeuj 
(Vestures of brighter mould and brayer mien 
Tliaa any yet, the choicest of the Isle^ 
No doubt. Here, left a sullen breathing-while, 
UpgaUiered on himself the Fighter stood 
For his last fight, and, wiping treacherous 

blood 
Ovt of the eyelids just held ope beneath 
Ilioee shading fingers in their iron sheath, 
Steadied his strengths amid the buzz and stir 
Of the dusk hideous amphitheatre 
At the aanouneement of his oyer-match 
To wind the day's diyeision up, dispatch 
Hie pertinacioiuB Gaul : while, limbs one heap. 
The Slave, no breath in her round mouth, 

watched leap 
Dart after dart forth, as her hero's car 
Ooye dizzily the solid of the war 
— Let eoil about his knees for pride in him. 
We reaeh die farthest terrace, and the grim 
Saa Pictro Palace stops us. 

Such the state 
Of Saliagnerra's plan to emulate 
Sieifian marrels, that his girlish wife 
Retmde still might lead her ancient life 
In her new home : whereat enlarged so much 
Neigiibon upon the novel princely touch 
He took, — who here imprisons Boniface. 

must the Envoys come to sue for grace ; 
here, emeigiug from the labyrinth 
iw, Sordello paused beside the plinth 
Of the door-pillar. 

He had really left 
iaH Verona for the cornfields (a poor theft 
From the morass) where Este's camp 
was made. 

TW Eayoys' march, the Legate's cavalcade — 
JUhsd beenseen by him, but scarce as when, — 
XiRcr for cause to stand aloof from men 
At evmr point save the fantastic tie 
Aj^avviedged in his boyish sophisfary, — 
fie Bade aeoonnt of such. A crowd. — he meant 
y^o task the whole of it ; each part's intent 



Concerned him therefore: and, the more he 

pried. 
The less became Sordello satisfied 
With his own figure at the moment. Sought 
He respite from his task ? Descried he aught 
Novel m the anticipated sight 
Of all these livers upon all delight ? 
This phalanx, as of m^rriad points combined. 
Whereby he still had imaged the mankind 
His youui was passed in dreams of rivalling, 
Hiib age — in plans to prove at least such thing 
Had been so dreamed, — which now he must 

impress 
With lus own will, effect a happiness 
Bv theirs, — supply a body to his soul 
Tnenoe, and become eventually whole 
With them as he had hoped to be without — 
FindAin Made these the mankind he once 
men no raved about ? 

machine Because a few of them were notable, 
for his Should all be figured worthy note ? 
"*•» As well 

Expect to find Taurello's triple line 
Of trees a single and prodigious pine. 
Real pines rose here and there ; but, close among. 
Thrust into and mixed up with pines, a throng 
Of shrubs, he saw, — a nameless common sort 
O'erpast in dreams, left out of Uie report 
And hurried into corners^ or at best 
Admitted to be fancied hke the rest. 
Reckon that morning's proper chiefs — how few I 
And yet the people grew, the people grew. 
Grew ever, as if the many there indeed, 
More left behind and most who should suc- 
ceed,^ — 
Simply in virtue of their mouths and eyes. 
Petty enjoyments and huge miseries, — 
Mingled with, and made veritably gieat 
Those chiefs : he overlooked not Mainard's state 
Nor Concorezzi's station, bat instead 
Of stopping there, each dwindled to be head 
Of inmute and alwent Tvrolese 
Or Paduans ; startling all the more, that these 
Seemed passive and disposed of, uncared for. 
Yet douDtless on the whole (like Eglamor) 
Smiling ; for if a wealthy man decays 
And out of store of robes must wear, all days. 
One tattered suit, alike in sun and shade, 
'Tis commonly some tarnished gay brocade 
Fit for a feast-night's flourish and no more : 
Nor otherwise poor Misery from her store 
Of looks is fain npgather, keep unfurled 
For common wear as she goes tnrough the world, 
The faint remainder of some worn-out smile 
Meant for a feast-night's service merely. While 
Crowd upon crowd rose on Sordello thus, — 
(Crowds no way interfering to discuss. 
Much less dispute, life's iovs with one employed 
In envying them, — or, if thev aught enjoyed, 
Where lingered something inaefinable 
Li every look and tone, the mirth as well 
As woe, that fixed at once his estimate 
Of the result, their good or bad estate) — 
But a Old memories returned with new 

thing with effect : 

life of its And the new body, ere he could sns- 
o'^ pect. 

Cohered, mankind and he were really fused, 



104 



SORDELLO 



The new self seemed impatient to be used 

Bv him, but utterly another way 

Than that anticipated : strange to say,^ 

They were too much below hun, more in thrall 

Than he, the adjunct than the principal. 

What booted scattered units ? — here a mind 

And there, which mieht repay his own to find. 

And stamp, and use ? — a lew, however aug^ust, 

If all the rest were grovelling in the dust ? 

No : first a miehty equilibrium, sure, 

«Should he establish, pHvilege procure 

For all, the few had long possessed I He felt 

An error, an exceeding error melt — 

While he was occupied with Mantuan chants, ^ 

Behoved him think of men, and take their 

wants, 
Such as he now distinguished every side, 
As his own want whi^ might be satisfied, — 
Andf after that, think of rare qualities 
Of his own soul demanding exercise. ^ 
It followed naturally, through no claim 
On their jmrt, which made virtue of the aim 
At serving thepi, on lus, — that^ past retrieve. 
He felt now in their toils, theirs, — nor could 

leave 
Wonder how, in the eagerness to rule. 
Impress his will on mankind, he (the fool I) 
Had never even entertained the thought 
That this his last arrangement might be fraught 
With incidental good to them as well. 
And rights And uiat mankind^s delight would 
hitherto help to swell 

ignored by His own. So, if he sighed, as for- 
W™» merly 

Because the merry time of Ufe must fleet, 
^T was deei>lier now, — for could the crowds re- 
peat 
Their poor experiences ? His hand that shook 
Was twice to be deplored. ** The Legate, look I 
With eves, like fresh-blown thrush-^:g8 on a 

thread. 
Faint-blue and loosely floating in his head. 
Large tongue, moist open mouth ; and this long 



wnue 

That owner of the idiotic smile 
A fault he Serves tiiem ! '^ 
is now He f ortunatelv saw in time 

anxious to His fault however, ana since the of- 
rei«*r, fjgg prime 

Includes the secondary — best accept 
Both offices ; Tanrello, its adept, 
Could teach him the preparatory one. 
And how to do what ne had fancied done 
Long previously, ere take the greater task. 
How render fiist these people happy ? Ask 
The people^s friends: for there must be one 

good. 
One way to it — the Cause 1 — he understood 
Tlie meaning now of Palma^ why the jar 
Else, the ado, the trouble wide and far 
Of Guelfs and Ghibellins, the Lombard hope 
And Homers despair ? — 'tvrixt Fmperor and 

Pope 
The confused shifting sort of Eden tale — 
Hardihood still recurring, still to fail — 
That foreign int-erloping fiend, this free 
And native overbrooding deity — 
Tet a dire fascination o*er the palms 
The Kaiser ruined, troubling even the calms 



Of paradise — or, on the other hand, 

Since he The Pontiff, as the Kaisers nndar- 

appre- stand, 

bends ite One snake-like cursed of God to love 

full extent, the ground. 

Whose heavy length breaks in the noon prof oimd 

Some saving tree — which needs the Kaiser, 

dressed 
As the dislodging angel of that pest. 
Yet flames that pest bedropped, flat head, foil 

fold. 
With coruscating dower of dyes. ^* Behold 
The secret, so to speak, and master^pring 
O* the contest I — which of the two Powers shall 

bring 
Men good — perchance the most good — ay, it 

may 
Be that ! — the question, which best knows the 



way, 



»» 



And hereupon Count Mainard strutted . 
Out of San Pietro ; never seemed the last' 
Of archers, slingers : and our friend began 
To recollect strange modes of serving man, 
Arbalist, catapult, brake, manganel. 
And more. This way of theirs may, — who 

can tell? — 
Need perfecting,'* said he : ^' let all be solved 
At once ! Taurello 'tis, the task devolved 
On late — confront Taurello I ' ' 

And at last 
He did confront him. Scaroe an hour had 
When forth Sordello came, older by years 
Than at his entry. Unexampled feus 
Oppressed him, and he staggered off, blind, mnte 
Ajid deaf, like some fresh-mutilated brute. 
Into Ferrara — not the emply town 
That morning witnessed : ne went up and down 
Streets whence the veil had been stripped shved 

by shred. 
So that, in place of huddling with their dead 
Lidoors, to answer Salingueira's ends. 
Townsfolk make shift to crawl forth, sit lika 

friends 
With any one. A woman ^ve him choice 
Of her two daughters, the infantile voice 
Or the dimpled knee, for half a chain, his tluroaJt 
Was clasped with; but an archer knew the 

coat — 
Its blue cross and eight lilies, — bade bewaxe 
One dogging him in concert with the pair 
Though thrumming on the sleeve that hid 

knife. 
Night set in early, autumn dews were rif e. 
They kindled great fires while the ^ -«Mi««*— —' 



mass 
Began at every canroch — he must pass 
Between the kneeling people. Presently 
The carroch of Verona caught his eve 
With pnrole trappings ; silentiy he bent 
Over its nre. when voices violent 
Began, *' Affirm not whom the youth waa 
That struck me from the porch, I did not 
Again : I too have chestnut hair ; my kin 
And would Hate Azzo and stand up for 
fain have lin. 

helped Here, minstrel, drive bad thotudbJ] 
someway, ^way ! Sing! Take ^^ 

My glove for guerdon ! ** And for that 

sake 



SORDELLO 



105 



He tamed : ** A aofog of Eig-Iamor's 1 " — aoaroe 

named, 
Wlien, ''Onr Soidello's zaOierr' — aU ex- 

daimed; 
"" la not Sordello famoaaeit for rhjrme ? " 
He had been happy to deny. iAaa time, — 
IVofess as heretofore the aoning head 
And failms heart, — snspect tlutt in his stead 
Same tme Apollo had the oharg^e of them, 
Was cIiam|non to reward or to condemn, 
So his intolerable risk mifi:ht shift 
Or share itself ; but Naddo's precious gift 
Of gift^ he owned, be certain ! At the close — 
*' I made that," said he to a yonth who rose 
Ai if to hear : 'twas Palma mroogh the band 
Condneted him in sUenee by her hand. 

Baek now for Salingnerra. Tito of Trent 
GaTe place to Palma and her friend ; who went 
In tain at Montelnngo's yisit — one 
After the other were they come and gone^-— 
llieae spokesmen for the Kaiser and the Pope, 
This ineamation of the People's hope, 
Soidello, — all the say of each was said ; 
And Solincrnerra sat, himself instead 
Of these to talk with, lingered musing yet. 
Twos a drear yast presenoe-ohamber roughly 



In order for the morning's use : full faoe. 

Hie Kaiser's ominous sign-marK had first place. 

The erowned grim twy-necked eagle, ooeursely- 

blaeked 
With oehre on the naked wall : nor lacked 
Komaao's green andyellow either side ; 
Bat the new token Tito brought had tried 
The L^sate's patience — nay, if Palma knew 
What Salinguerra almost meant to do 
Until the siffht of her restored his lip 
A eertain half-smile, three months' chieftainship 
Had banished I Afterward, the Legate f oundT 
Ko change in him, nor asked what badge he 

woond 
And nnwonnd carelessly. Now sat the Chief 
Silent as when our couple left, whose 
ia brief 

Encounter wrought so opportune ef- 
fect 

Li thonghts he summoned not, nor would reject, 
Thoa^ time 't was now if ever, to pause — fix 
On any sort of ending : wiles and tricks 
Exhaosted, judge ! his charge, the crazv town, 
Just managed to be hindered crashing down — 
His last sound troops ranged — care obseryed to 

post 
Hii best of the m^med soldiers innermost — 
So mneh was plain enough, but somehow struck 
ffim not before. And now with this strange luck 
Of Tito's news, rewarding his address 
Se veil, what thought he of ? — how the success 
With Pfiedrich's rescript there would either 

hash 
€U Eoelin's semples, bring the manly fiush 
Te his young: son's white cheek, or, last, exempt 
Kasen from telling what tliere was to tempt ? 
Be: that this minstrel was Romano's last 

Seryant — himself the fijsti Could 

he contrast 
The whole I — that minstrel's thirty 
years just spent 




In doing ujlughtj their notablest eyent 
This morning's journey hither, as I told — 
Who yet was lean, outworn and really old, 
A stammering awkward man that scarce dared 

raise 
His eye before the maspsterial gaze — 
And Salinguerra with his fears and hopes 
Of sixty years, his Emperors and Popes, 
Cares and oontriyances, yet, you would say, 
'T was a youth nonchalantly looked away 
Through the embrasure northward o'er the sick 
Expostulating trees — so agile, quick 
How he And graceful turned the head on the 
was made broad chesty 
in body Encased in pliant steel, his constant 
and tplrit, yeet. 

Whence split the sun off in a spray of fire 
Across the room ; and, loosened of its tire 
Of steel, that head let breathe the comely brown 
Laa^ massiye locks discolored as if a crown 
Encircled them, so frayed the basnet where 
A sharp y^hite line diyided clean the hair ; 
Glossy aboyoj glossy below, it swept 
Curling and nne about a brow thus kept 
Calm, laid coat upon coat, marble and sound : 
Tlus was the mystic mark the Tuscan found. 
Mused of, turned oyer books about. Square- 
faced, 
No lion more ; two yiyid eyes, enchased 
In hollows filled with many a shade and streak 
Settling from the bold nose and bearded cheek. 
Nor might the half-smile reach them that de- 
formed 
A lip supremely perfect else — unwarmed, 
Unwidened, less or more ; indifferent 
Whether on trees or men his thoughts were bent. 
Thoughts rarely, after all, in trim and train 
As now a period was fulfilled again : 
Of such, a series made his life, compressed 
In each, one stonr serving for the rest — 
And what How nis lifeHstreams rolling arriyed 
had been at last 

his career At the barrier, whence, were it once 
of old. oyerpast, 

They would emem, » riyer to the end, — 
Gathered themseWes up, paused, bade fate be- 
friend. 
Took the leap, hung a minute at the height. 
Then fell back to oblivion infinite : 
Therefore he smiled. Beyond stretched gar- 
den-grounds 
Where late the adversary, breaking bounds, 
Had gained him an occasion, That above, 
That eagle, testified he could improve 
Elffectnsdly. The Kaiser's symbol lay 
Beside his rescript, a new badee by way 
Of baldric ; while, —another thing that marred 
Alike emprise, acnievement and reward, — 
Ecelin's missive was conspicuous too. 
What past life did those flying thoughts pur- 
sue? 
As his, few names in Mantua half so old ; 
But at Ferrara, where his sires enrolled 
It latterly, the Adelardi spared 
No pains to rival thera : both factions shared 
Ferrara, so that, counted out, 'twould yield 
A product very like the city's shield, 
Hidf black and white, or Ghibellin and Guelf 



io6 



SORDELLO 



As after Salingruerra styled himself * 
And Este, who, till Mafohesalla died, 
(Last of the Aaelardi) — never tried 
His fortune there : with Marohesalla^s child 
Would pass — could Blacks and Whites be rec- 
onciled. 
And young Taurello wed Lingnetta — wealth 
And sway to a sole grasp. £adi treats by stealth 
Already : when the Guelf s, the Ravennese 
Arrive, assault the Pietro quarter, seize 
Linguetta, and are gone I Men^s first dismay 
Abated somewhat, hurries down, to lay 
The after indignation, Boniface, 
This Richard *s father. ' ^ Learn the full disgrace 
Averted, ere you blame us Ouelfs, who rate 
Your 8alinguerra, your sole potentate 
That might have been, 'mongst Esters valvas- 

sors — 
Ay, Azzo^s — who, not privy to, abhors 
Our step ; but we were zealous." Azzo 's then 
To do with ! Straight a meetii^ of old men : 
** Old Sallnguerra dead, his heir a boy, 
What if we change our ruler and decoy 
The Lombard E^le of the azure sphere 
With Italy to build in, fix him here. 
Settle the city's troubles in a trice ? 
For private wrong, let public good suffice I " 
The origi- In fine, young Salinguerra's stanch- 
nal check est friends 

to his for- Talked of the townsmen wrm-Ving him 
tunea, amends. 

Gave him a goshawk^ and afBLrmed there was 
Rare sport, one mormng, over the green grass 
y A mile or so. He sauntered through the plain. 
Was restless, fell to thinking, turned again 
In time for Azzo's entry with the bride { 
Count Boniface rode smirking at their side : 
** She brings him half Ferrara," whispers flew, 
** And all Ancona I H the stripling knew I " 

Anon the stripling was in Sicily 
Where Heinrich ruled in right of Constance ; he 
Was gracious nor his guest incai>able ; 
£ach understood the other. So it fell, 
One Spring, when Azzo, thoroughly at ease. 
Had near torgotteu by what precise degrees 
He crept at first to such a downy seat. 
The Count trudged over in a special heat 
To bid him of God's love dislodge from each 
Of Salinguerra's palaces, — a breach 
Might yawn else, not so readilv to shut. 
For who was just arrived at Mantua but 
The youngster, sword on thigh and tuft on chin. 
Which he With tokens for Celano, Ecelin, 
waa in the Pistore, and the like I Next news, — 
way to re- no whit 

trieve, Do any of Ferrara's domes befit 

His wife of Heinrich's very blood : a band 
Of foreigners assemble, understand 
Garden-constructing, level and surround, 
Build up and bury m. A last news crowned 
The consternation : since his infant's birth. 
He only waits they end his wondrous girth 
Of trees that link San Pietro with Tom&, 
To visit Mantua. When the Podest^ 
Ecelin, at Vicenza, called his friend 
Taurello thither, what could be their end 
But to restore the Ghibellins' late Head, 
The Kaiser helping ? He with most to dread 



From ven^:eanoe and reprisal, Azzo, there 

With Boniface beforehand, as aware 

Of. plots in progress, gave alarm, expelled 

Both plotters : Dut the Ghielfs in triumph yelled 

Too hastily. The buminpr and the flignt. 

And how Taurello, occupied that night 

With Ecelin, lost wife and son, I toH : 

When a — Not how he bore the blow, le- 

f reah ca- tained his hold, 

lamity de- Got friends safe through, left ene> 

Btroyed aU: nueg the worst 

O' the fray, and hardly seemed to care at first : 

But afterward men heard not constantly 

Of Salinguerra's House so sure to be I 

Though Azzo simply gained by the event 

A shitting of his plagues — the first, content 

To fall behind the second and estrange 

So far his nature, suffer such a change 

That in Romano sought he wife and child 

And for Romano's sake seemed reconciled 

To losing individual life, which shrunk 

As the other prospered — mortised in his trimk ; 

Like a dwarf palm which wanton Arabs foil 

Of bearing its own proper wine and oil, 

Bv Rafting into it the stranger-vine. 

Which sucks its heart out, wv and serpentiDe, 

Till forth one vine-palm feathers to the rooty 

And red drops moisten the insipid fruit. 

Once Adelaide set on, — the subtle mate 

Of the weak soldier, urged to emulate 

The Church's valiant women deed for deed. 

And paragon her namesake, win the meed 

O' the great Matilda, — soon they overbore 

The rest of Lombardy, — not as before 

Bv an instinctive tniculence, but patched 

The Kaiser's strategy until it matched 

The Pontiff's, sought old ends by novel mt^w^^ 

" Only, whv is it Salinguerra screens 

Himself beiiind Romano ? — hhn we bade 

Enjoy our shine 1' the front, not seek the shade !** 

— Asked Heinrich, somewhat of the tardiest 

To comprehend. Nor Philip acquiesced 

At once in the arrangement ; reasoned, plied 

His friend with offers of another bride, 

A statelier function — fruitlessly : 't was plun 

He Bank Taurello through some weaknes 

into a aeo- must remain 

ondary Obscure. And Otho, free to jadire off 

personage, both, 

— Ecelin the unready* harsh and loth, 

And this more plausible and facile wight 

With everv point a-sparkle — chose the lisl&t* 

Admiring now Ms predecessors harned 

On the wrong man: "thus," quota he, ^* wiUm 

are waroed 
By outsides 1 " Carelesslv, meanwhile, his life 
Suffered its many turns of peace and str^ 
In many lands — you hardly could surpriae 
The man ; who shamed Sordello (recognize I) 
In this as much beside, that, unconcerned 
What qualities were natural or earned. 
With no ideal of graces, as they came 
He took them, singularly well the same — 
Speaking the Greek's own language, jus^ >ie 

cause 
Your Greek eludes you, leave the least of flja.^n 
In contracts with him ; while, since Arab lov« 
Holds the stars' secret — take one trouble 



SORDELLO 



107 



And master it ! ^ is done, and now deter 
Wbo mAj the Tuscan, once Jove trined for her, 
Fnua Fnedrich^s path I — Friedrich, whose pil- 



The aame man pats aside, whom he 11 engage 

To leaye next year John Brienne in thie lurch, 

Omie to Baasano, see Saint Francis* church 

And indge of Goido the Bolognian^s piece 

Widen, fend Taorello credit, rivals Greece — 

Angds, with aareoles like n>lden quoits ^ 

Htched home, applauding Ecelin's exploits. 

For deganoe. he strung uae angelot, 

Wikh tbe Made rhymes thereto ; tor prowess, 

■PliTopiri- clove he not 

•ta gncem Tiso, last siege, from crest to cmp- 

Detail yoa thus a variea masterjr 

But to show how Taurello, on the watch 

For men, to read their hearts and thereby cateh 

Their capabilities and purposes, 

Disnlayea himself so far as displayed these : 

While our Sordello only cared to know 

About men as a means whereby he *d show 

ffimself , and men had much or little worth 

Aceording as thev kept in or drew forth 

That self ; the other's choicest instruments 

Surmised him shallow. 

Meantime, malcontents 
Dropped off, town after town grew wiser. 

"How 
Chaoge the world's face?'* asked people; "as 

'tis now 
It has been, will be ever: very fine 
Subjecting things profane to things divine, 
In telk I This oontunuury^ will fatigue 
Tlie v»]anee of Este ana the League I 
The GMbelHns gain on us ! '' — as it happed. 
Old Abo and okl Bomfaoe, entrapped 
Bj Ponte Alto, both in one month s space 
Slept at Verona : either left a brace 
Of sooi — but, three years after, cither's pair 
Lost Guglielm and Aldobrand its heir : 
Aao remamed and Richard — all the stay 
Of &te and Saint Boniface, at bay 
Bat See- As 't were. Then, either Eoelin 
lia, be aet grew old 

fnfroMb, Or his brain altered — not o' the 
•■'^"■•t proper mould 

For new appuanoes — his old palm-stock 
Eodnred no influx of strange strengths. He 'd 

roek 
As in a drunkenness, or chuckle low 
As proud of the completeness of his woe, 
Tlien weep real tears ; — now make some mad 

onslanght 
Ob Este, heedless of the lesson taught 
So painfully, — now cringe for peace, sue peace 
At pcioe of past gain, bar of fresh increase 
To the fortunes of Romano. Up at last 
Hose Este, down Romano sank as fast. 
Aad men remarked these freaks of peace and 



Hsppem 
Wienee 



ued while Salingnerra was afar : 



erery friend besought him, all in vain, 
Taise his old adherent's wits again. 
Hot he ! — ** who had adviMrs in his sons, 
Gosid plot himself, nor needed any one's 
AMot,^* T was Adelude's remaining stanch 



Prevented lus destruction root and branch 
Forthwith; but when she died, doom fell, for 

fC»y 
He made alliances, gave lands away 
To whom it pleased accept them, and withdrew 
Forever from the world. Taurello, who 
Was summoned to the convent, then refused 
A word at the wicket, patience thus abused. 
Promptly threw off alike his imbecile 
Ally's yoke, and his own frank, foolish smile. 
Soon a few movements of the happier sort 
Changed matters, put himself in men's report 
As heretofore : he nad to fight, beside, 

_ . And that became him ever. So, in 

S*«n- pride 

SSfl^fa -^^ flushing of this kind of second 

corned TTy^V% ™j 11 M V. ' 

wnxdy He dealt a good-will blow. Este m 

truth 

Lay prone — and men remembered, somewhat 

late, 
A laughing old outn^:eous stifled hate 
He bore to Este — how it would outbreak 
At times spite of disguise, like an earthquake 
In sunny weather — as that noted day 
When with his hundred friends he tried to slay 
Azzo before the Kaiser's face : and how. 
On Ajqeo's calm refusal to allow 
A liegeman's challenge, straight he too was 

calmed: 
As if his hate could bear to lie embalmed, ^ 
Bricked up, the moody Pharaoh, and survive 
All intermediate crumblings, to arrive 
At earth's catastrophe — 't was Este's crash. 
Not Azzo's he demanded, so, no rash 
Procedure I Este's true antagonist 
Rose out of Ecelin : all voices whist. 
All eyes were sharpened, wits predicted. He 
'T was, leaned in the embrasure absently. 
Why and Amused with his own efforts, now, 
how. U let to trace 

out In With his steel-sheathed forefinger 

BoUloqay. Friedrich's face 

I' the dust: but as the trees waved sere, lus 

smile 
Deepened, and words expressed its thought 

erewhile. 
'^ Ay, fairly housed at last, my old compeer? 
That we should stick together, all the year 
I kept Vicenza ! — How old Boniface, 
Old Azzo caught us in its mark etrplace. 
He by that pular, I at this, — caught each 
In mid swing, more than fury of ms speech. 
Egging the rabble on to disavow 
All^iance to their Marquis — Bacchus, how 
They boasted ! Ecelin must turn their drudge. 
Nor J if released, will Salin&ruerra grudge 
Paying arrears of tribute ane lon^ since — 
Bacchus ! My man could promise then, nor 

wince. 
The bones-and-muscles ! Sound of wind and 

limb. 
Spoke he the set excuse I framed for him : 
And now he sits me, slavering and mute. 
Intent on chafing each starved purple foot 
Benumbed past aching with the altar slab — 
Will no vein throb there when some monk shall 

blab 



io8 



SORDELLO 



Spitefnlly to the cirole of bald soalps, 

Eoelln, he * Friedrich *b affirmed to be our rade 

did aU for, the Alps' 

1b a monk — £h, brother Laotance, brother 

«>^» Anadet ? 

Sworn to abjure the world, its fame and fret, 

God*s own now ? Drop the dormitory bar, 

Enfold the scanty eray serge scapular 

Twice o^er the cowl to mnffle memories ont I 

So I But the midnight whisper turns a shout. 

Eyes wink, months open, pulses circulate 

In the stone walls : the past, the world you hate 

Is with you, ambush, open field — or see 

The surgin^flame! — we fire Vioenza — glee I 

Follow, let riUo and Benuudo chafe I 

Bring up the Mantuans — through San Biagio — 

safe! 
Ah, the mad people waken ? Ah, they writhe 
Ana reach us? If they block the gate? No 

tithe 
Can pass — keep back, you Baasaneael The 

edge. 
Use the edge — shear, thrust, hew, melt down 

the wedge. 
Let out the black of those black upturned eves ! 
Hell — are they sprinkling fire too ? The blood 

fries 
And hisses on your brass gloves as they tear 
Those upturned faces choking with desp^. 
Brave I Slidder through the reeking gate! 

* How now ? 
You six had charge of her ? ' And then the vow 
Gomes, and the foam spirts, hair 's plucked, till 

one shriek 
^ hear it) and you fling — you cannot speak — 
Tour gold-flowered basnet to a man who haled 
The Adelaide he dared scarce view unveiled 
This mom, naked across the fire : how crown 
The archer that exhausted lays you down 
Your infant, smiling at Uie flame, and dies ? 
While one, while mme . . . 

** Bacchus I I think there lies 
More than one corpse there " (and he paced the 

room) 
** — ; Another cinder somewhere : 't was my doom 
Beside, my doom ! U Adelaide is dead, 
I live the same, this Azzo lives instead 
Of that to me, and we pull, any how, 
Este into a heap : the matter ^s now 
Jost when At the true juncture slipping us so 
the prize oft. 

awaita Ay, Heinrich died and Otho, please 
•omebody; you, doffed 
His crown at such a juncture I Still, if holds 
Our Friedrich's purpose, if this chain enfolds 
The neck of . . . who but this same Ecelin 
That must recoil when the best days begin I 
Recoil ? that ^s naught ; if the recoiler leaves 
His name for me to fight with, no one grieves : 
But he must interfere, forsooth, unlock 
His cloister to become my stumbling-block 
Just as of old ! Ay, a^, there *t is a^ain — 
Tlie land^s inevitable Head — explain 
The reverences that subject us I C^unt 
These Ecelins now ! Not to say as fount, 
Originating power of thought, — from twelve 
That drop i' the trenches they joined hands to 

delve. 



Six shall surpass him, but . . . why, men must 

twine 
Somehow with something 1 Ecelin ^s a fine 
HimaeUiif Clear name I 'T were simpler, doubt- 
it were lees, twine with me 
onlv worth At once our cloistered friend's ca- 
while, paoi^ 

Was of a sort I I had to share myself 
In fifty portions, like an o^ertaaked elf 
That 's n)roed illume in fiftv points the vast 
Rare vapor he 's environed by.^ At last 
My strengths, though sorely frittered, e^en con- 
verge 
And crown ... no, Bacchns, they have yet to 

urge 
The man be crowned I 

" That aloe, an he dnxst. 
Would climb I Just such a bloated sprawler 

first 
I noted in Messina's castle-oourt 
The day I came, when Heinrich asked in sport 
U I would pledge my faith to win him back 
His right in Lombaxdy : * for, once bid pack 
Marauders/ he continued, * in my steaa 
You rule, Taurello 1 ' and upon this head 
Laid the silk elove of Constance — I see her 
Too, mantled nead to foot in miniver, 
Retrude following I 

" I am absolved 
From further toil : the emperv devolved 
On me, 'twas Tito's word : I have to lay 
For once my plan, pursue my plan my way. 
Prompt nobody, and render an account 
Taurello to Taurello I Nay, I mount 
To Friedrich : he conceives the ]^t I kept, 
— Who did true service, able or mept. 
Who 's worthv guerdon, Ecelin or I. 
Me guerdoned, counsel follows : would he vie 
With the Pope really ? Azzo, Boniface 
Compose a nght-arm Hohenstauffeu's race 
Must break ere govern Lombardy. I i>oint 
How easy 't were to twist, once out of joint. 
The socket from the bone : my Azzo's stare 
Meanwhile ! for I, this idle strap to wear. 
Shall — fret myself abundantly, what end 
To serve ? There 's left me twenty years to 
As it may spend 

be — but — How better than my old way? 
also, as it Had I one 

may^not yf^Q labored to o'erthiow nay work 
"• — a son 

Hatching with Azzo superb treachery. 
To root my pines up and then poison me. 
Suppose — 'twere worth while frustrate tliat! 

Beside, 
Another life 's ordained me : the world's tide 
Rolls, and what hope of parting from the press 
Of waves, a single wave through weiuineaa 
Gentlv lifted aside, laid upon shore ? 
My life must be lived out m foam and roar. 
No question. Fifty years the province helcl 
Taurello ; troubles raised, and troubles quelled. 
He in the midst — who leaves this quaint stone 

place. 
These trees ayear or two, then not a trace 
Of him! How obtain hold, fetter menTi 

tongues 
Like this poor minstrel with the foolish songs — 




SORDELLO 



109 



To whielL, despite oar bustle, he is linked ? 
—Flowers one may tease, that never grow ex- 

. tinct. 
Ay, that patch, surely, ereen as eyer, where 
I set Her flioorish lentisk, by the stair, 
To oTerawe the aloes ; and we trod 
Ihose flowers, how gaII you such ? — into the 

sod; 
A stately foreigner — a world of pain 
To make it tniiye, arrest rough winds — all 

Tain I 
It would decline; these would not be de- 
stroyed : 
And now, where is it ? where can you ayoid 
The flowers ? I frighten children twenty years 
Longer 1 — which way, too, Ecelin appears 
To thwart me, for his son's besotted youth 
Gives promise of the proper tiger-tooth : 
They feel it at Vioenza 1 Fate, fate, fate, 
Mjr nne Taurello ! Go tou, promulgate 
FMedrich's decree, and nere s shall aggrandize 
Tom^ Eoelin — your Prefect's badge I a prize 
Theaoppo- Too precious, certainly. 
■tioBhe ** How now? Gonmete 

)- With my old comrade ? shuffle from 
*^ « their seat 

children? Paltry deaUngI Don't I 

know 
EeeBa ? now, I think, and years ago I 
What's changed — the weakness? did not I 

compound 
For that, and undertake to keep him sound 
Despite it ? Here 's Taurello hankerii^ 
After a boy's preferment — this playthmg 
To eanry, Bacchus I " Ajid he landed. 

Remark 
Why schemes wherein cold-blooded men em- 



ftuper, when your enthusiastic sort 

Fail : while these last are ever stopping short — 

£0 mach they should — so little they can do I) 

The careless tribe see nothing to pursue 

If they denst; meantime their sdieme sue- 



Thoo^ts were caprices in the course of deeds 
Methodic with Taurello^ so, he turned, 
fnoagh amnsed by fancies rairly earned 
Of Bsfee'a horror«truck submitted neck, 
And Ridiaid, the cowed braggart, at his beck. 
To his own petl^ but immediate 

doubt 
If he could pacify the League with- 
out 

Geaceding Richard ; just to this was brought 
That interval of vain discursive thought I 
As, shall I say, some Ethiop, past pursuit 
Off all enslavers, dips a shackled foot 
Bant to the blood, into the drowsy black 
Zaomaoas watercourse which guides him back 
To Us own tribe again, where ne is king ; 
Aod laogbfl because he guesses, numbering 
The ydlower pooaon-wattles on the pouch 
Of the first lizard wrested from its couch 
jUadtr die slime (whose skin, the while he strips 
Te cue his nostril with, and festered lips, 
And mballs bloodshot through the desert- 

t Thathe has reached its boundary, at last 



May breathe; — thinks o'er enchantments of 

the South 
Sovereign to plague his enemies, their mouth, 
Eyes, nails, and hair ; but, these enchantments 

tried 
In fancy, puts them soberly aside 
For ^tn. projects a cool return with friends. 
The likelihood of winning mere amends 
Ere long ; thinks that, takes comfort silently. 
Then, m>m the river's brink, lus wrongs and 

he, 
Hugging revei^;e dose to their hearts, are soon 
Off-strioung for the Mountains of the Moon. 

Midnight : the watcher nodded on his spear. 
Since clouds dispersing left a passi^ie clear 
For any meagre and discolored moon 
To venture forth ; and such was peerii^ soon 
Above the harassed city — her close lanes 
Closer, not half so tapering her fanes. 
As though she shrunk into herself to keep 
What little life was saved, more safely. Heap 
Bv heap the watch-fires mooldered, and beside 
The blackest spoke Sordello and replied 
Palma with none to listen. *^ 'T is your cause : 
„ ^ „ What makes a GhibelMn ? There 
g^^^ should be Uws — 
what (Remember how my youth escaped I 

OhfbeUfaiB I trust 
«re, To you for manhood, Palma; teU 

me just 
As any child) — uiere must be laws at work 
I^Eplaining this. Assure me, ffood may lurk 
Under the bad, — mj muldtuae has part 
In your designs, their welfare is at heart 
With Saliitfuerra, to their interest 
R^er the oeeds he dwelt on, — so divest 
Our conference of much that scared me. Why 
Affect that heartless tone to Tito ? I 
Esteemed myself, yes, in my inmost mind ^ 
This mom, a recreant to my race — mankind 
O'erlooked till now : why boast my spirit's 

force, 
— Such force denied its object? why divorce 
These, then admire my SDirit's flight the same 
As though it bore up, helped some half-orbed 

flune 
Else quenched in the dead void, to living space ? 
That orb cast off to chaos and disgrace. 
Why vaunt so much my unencmnbered dance, 
MaKJng a feat's facilities enhance 
Its marvel ? But I front Taurello, one 
Of happier fate, and all I should have done, 
He does ; the i)eople's good being paramount 
With him, their progress may perhaps account 
For his abidingstill ; whereas yon heard 
The talk with Tito — the excuse preferred 
For burning those five hostages, — and broached 
By way of blind, as you ana I approached, 
I do believe." 

She spoke : then he, " My thought 
Plainlier expressed 1 All to your profit — 

naught 
Meantime of these, of conquests to achieve 
For them, of wretchedness he might relieve 
And what While profiting your party. AlZzo, 

Ouelfa, ^ ***°'_^ , ^ « T> 

spproTes Supports a cause : what cause? Do 

o| neither. Gnel& pursue 



[ 



no 



SORDELLO 



Their ends by means like yours, or better ? '* 

When 
The Gnelfs were proved alike, men weighed 

with men. 
And deed with deed, blaze, blood, with blood 

and blaze. 
Mom broke : Once more, Sordello, meet its 

gaze 
Prondfy — the people's charge against thee fails 
In eyeiy point, while either party quails 1 
These are the busy ones : be silent thou ! 
Two parties take the world up, and allow 
No tmrd, yet have one principle, subsist 
Bv the same injustice ; whoso shall enlist 
With either, nuaks with man^s inyeterate foes. 
So there is one less quarrel to compose : 
The Guelf , the Ghibellin may be tu curse — 
I have done nothii^, but both sides do worse 
Than nothing. Nay, to me, forgotten, reft 
Of insight, mpped by trees and flowers, was 

left 
The notion of a service — ha ? What lured 
Me here, what mighty aim was I assured 
Must move TaureUo ? What if there remained 
^ A cause, intact, distinct from these, 

Have men ordained 

5j2SS ^^^ ™®» ^** *"*® discoverer ? " 
from Some one pressed 

both? Before them here, a watcher, to 

suggest 
The subject for a ballad : ^^ They must know 
The tale of the dead worthy, loi^ ago 
Ck)nsul of Rome — that 's long ago for us. 
Minstrels and bowmen, idly squabbling thus 
In the world's comer — but too late no doubt. 
For the brave time he sought to bring about. 
__ —Not know Cresoentius Nomen- 

to toSd tanus?" Then 
Roman ^® ^^^ about for temos to tell him, 
Oreicen- when 

tiuB? Sordello disavowed it, how they 

used 
Whenever their Superior introduced 
A novice to the Brotherhood — (** for I 
Was just a brown-sleeve brother, merrily 
Appomted too," quoth he, " till Innocent 
Bade me relinquish, to my small content. 
My wife or my brown sleeves ") — some brother 

spoke 
Ere noctums of Crescentius, to revoke 
The edict issued, after his demise, ^ 
Which blotted fame alike and effigies. 
All out except a floating power, a name 
Including, tending to produce the same 
Great act. Rome, dead, forgotten, lived at least 
Within that brain, though to a vulgar priest 
And a vile stranger. — two not worth a slave 
Of Rome's, Pope John, King Otho, — fortune 

gave 
The rme there : so, Crescentius, hapl^ dressed 
In white, called Roman Consul for a lest. 
Taking Uie people at their word, f orui stepped 
As upon Brutus' heel, nor ever kept 
Rome waiting, — stood erect, and irom his brain 
Gave Rome out on its ancient place again. 
Ay, bade proceed with Brutus' Rome, Kings 

s^lea 
Themselves mere citizens of, and, beguiled 



Into great thoughts thereby, would choose the 

gem 
Ont of a lapf ull, spoil their diadem 
— The Senate's cypher was so hard to scratch ! 
He flashes like a pnanal, all men catch 
The flame, Rome 's just accomplished 1 "when 

returned 
Otho^with John, the Consul's step had spumed. 
And Hugo Lord of Este, to redress 
The wrongs of each. Crescentius in ihe oil ess 
Of adverse fortune bent. ''* They crucified 
Their Consul in the Forum ; and abide 
E'er since such slaves at Rome, that I-;- (for I 
Was once a brown-sleeve brother, merrily 
Appointed) — I had option to keep wife 
Or keep brown sleeves, and managed in the strife 
Lose both. A song oi Rome ! " 

And Rome, indeed. 
Robed at Goito in fantastic weed. 
The Mother-City of his Mantuan days. 
Looked an established point of lieht whence rays 
Traversed the world; for, all the duatered 

homes 
Beside of men, seemed bent on being Romes 
In tlieir degree ; the question was, how each 
Should most resemble rtome, clean out of readu 
Nor, of the Two, did either principle 
How if, in Struggle to change — out to posaeas 
the reinte- — Rome, still, 
nation of Guelf Rome or Ghibellin Rome. 
*°™®» Let Rome advance I 

Rome, as she struck Sordello's ignorance — 
How could he doubt one moment r Rome 'a the 

Cause I 
Rome of l^e Pandects, all the world's new 

laws — 
Of the Capitol, of Castle Angelo ; 
New structures, that inordinately glow. 
Subdued, brought back to harmony, miade ripe 
By many a relic of the archetype 
Extant for wonder ; every upstart church 
That hoped to leave old temples in the lordi, 
Ccrrected by the Theatre forlorn 
That, — as a mundane shell, its world late 

bom, — 
Lay and o'ershadowed it. These hints combined. 
Be typified Rome typifies the scheme to pnt maja- 
the trf- kind 

nmph of Once more in full possession of their 
°""**"^^ rights. 

** Let us have Rome again I On me it lights 
To build up Rome — on me, the first and last : 
For such a future was endured the past I '* 
And thuS| in the gray twilight, forth he sprung 
To give his thought consistency among 
The very People — let their facts avail 
Finish the dream grown from the archer'a 



BOOK THE FIFTH 

Is it the same Sordello in the dusk 
As at the dawn ? — merelv a perished huak. 
Now, that arose a power nt to build 
M ki d ^P Rome again? The proud 
itSa^Si^ ception chuled 
".SSa? So 80on? Ay, ,.M«h that 
dream of thine 



SORDELLO 



III 



-A Borne indebted to no Palatine — 

dim arch bjr arch, Sordeilo 1 Art poaBeaaed 

Of thy wiah now, rewarded for thy quest 

Tihday among Ferrara's squalid sons ? 

in tsis and this and this the shining ones 

Meet for the Shining City ? Sootli to say. 

Toot &Tored tenantry pursue their way 

After a fashion I This oompanion slips 

(Xi the smooth cansev, t* other blinkard trips 

At lus mooned aanoal. *^ Leave to lead the 

' brawls 

Hmi'theatriaPy No^friendl Hethatsprawls 
^ao^ but a stibadiuin . . . what his dues 
^» pats the lostral vase to sucli an use ? 
Ui, huddle np the day*s disasters I March, 
xemiagates, and drop thou, arch by ardi, 

, Borne! 

' Tet before they quite disband — a lehim — 
^7 mere shelter, now, for him, and him, 
Nay, area the worst, — just house them I Any 

esTe 
Sdnes : throw out earth ! A loophole ? Braye I 
j^ ask to feel the sun shine, see the grass 
Gnv,bear the larks sing ? Dead art t^ou, alas, 
iadlamdeadl But here 's our son excels 
At hardle-weaTing any Scythian, fells 
^ sod derises rafters, dreams and shapes 
ffii dream into a door-post j just escapes 
Tbe inystery of hinges. Lie we both 
{jwaa another age. The goodly growth 
Ut kiek and stone 1 Our buildung^pelt was 

^ ^ desoendant'a garb suits well enough 
A portieo-eontriver. ^peed the years — 
%,tto What's time to us? Atlast,acity 
J* rears 

■"" " Itself ! nay, enter — what 's the grave 
•"■«*» tons? 

JLAiOiirforlom acquaintance carry thus^ 
|behead! Snocessively sewer, forum, cirque — 
^ age, an aqueduct was counted work, 
gBt now they tire the artificer upon 
«k alabaster, black obsidion, 
T^wfnl, Jove's face be duly ful^urant, 
iid mother Venus' kiss-creased mpples pant 
^Ifk mto pristine pulp iness, ere fixed 
ijlfov« the baths. What difference betwixt 
"US Rfloe and ours — resemblance what, be- 

Uttt Korry dumb -show and this pageant 

sheen— 
gsss Romans and our rabble ? Use thy wit I 
uewwfcmarched : step by step, — a workman 

j *^ ^yfc i nor too fit, — to one task, one time, — 
Aeleainng o'er the petty to tiie prime, ^ 
jjf» When ^nst the substituting osier lithe 
*sad For brittle bulrush, sound wood for 
^^ soft withe, 



1^** To further loank-and-roughcast-work 
^1' a stage, - 



w -7-;^ n arehitect, exacts an age : 
|*«Ua8 of the Mauritanian tree 
nT^n whose maple log 's their luxury I 
*«»iy was Rome built. "Better" (say 



At ti """n*" 

^■*jfl workmen in the demiurge, 

r^ ffotm in a lif etime, every task 



In one I " So should the sudden city bask 

I' the day — while those we 'd feast there, want 

the knack 
Of keeping fresh-chalked gowns from speck and 

brack, 
Distinguish not rare peacock from vile swan. 
Nor Mareotic juice from Caecuban. 
** Enough of Rome I 'T was happy to conceive 
Rome on a sudden, nor shall fate bereave 
Me of that credit : for the rest, her spite 
Is an old story — serves my folly right 
B^ adding yet another to the dull 
List of abortions — things proved beautiful 
Could they be done, Sordeilo cannot do." 

He sat upon the terrace, plucked and threw 
The powderv aloe-cusps away, saw shift 
Rome's walls, and drop arch after arch, and 

drift 
Mistrlike afar those pillars of all stripe. 
Mounds of all majesty. " Thou arcne^ype. 
Last of my dreams and loveliest, depart! '' 

And then a low voice wound into his heart : 
" Sordeilo I " (low as some old Pythoness 
Conceding to a Lvdian King's distress 
The cause of his long error — one mistake 
Of her past oracle) Sordeilo, wake I 
God has conceded two sights to a man — 
And a man One, of mens whole work, time's 
can do but completed plan, 
a man's The other, of the minute's work, 
portion. nian's first 

Step to the plan's completeness: what's dis- 
persed 
Save hope of that supreme step which, descried 
Earliest, was meant still to remain untried 
Only to give you heart to take your own 
Step, and there stay — leaving the rest alone ? 
Where is the vanity ? Why count as one 
The first step, with the last step ? What is gone 
Except Rome's aery magnificence. 
That last step you 'd take first ? — an evidence 
You were God: be man now I Let those glances 

faU! 
The basis, the beginning step of all, 
Which proves you just a man — is that gone too ? 
Fitj to disconcert one versed as you 
In fate's ill-nature I but its fuU extent 
Eludes Sordeilo, even : the veil rent. 
Read the black writing — that collective man 
Outstrips the individual 1 Who began 
The last of The acknowledged greatnesses ? Ay» 
each aerieB your own art 
of work- Smdl serve us : put the poet's mimes 
™«° apart— 

Close with the poet's self, and lo, a dim 
Tet too plain form divides itself from him I 
Alcamo^ song enmeshes the lulled Isle, 
Woven into tne echoes left erewhile 
By Nina, one soft web of song : no more 
Turning his name, then, flower-like o'er and 

o'er I 
An elder poet in the younger's place : 
Nina 'a the strength, out Aloarao 's tne grace : 
Each neutralizes each then I Search your fill ; 
You get no whole and perfect Poet — still 
New I^inas, Alcamos, till time's mid-night 
Shit>uds all — or better say, the shutting light 
0^ a forgotten yesterday. Dissect 



112 



SORDELLO 



Every ideal workman — (to reject 

In favor of your fearful ignorance 

The thousand phantasms eager to advance^ 

SumBupin Ana point von but to those within 

hinuelf all irour reach) — 

predeoes- Were you the first who brought — 

**"• (in modem speech) 

The Multitude to be materialized ? 

That loose eternal unrest — who devised 

An apparition i' the midst ? The rout 

Was checked, a breathless ring was formed 

about 
That sudden flower : get round at any risk 
The gold-rough pointel, silver-bliuing disk 
O* the lily I Swords across it I Rei^ thy reign 
We jiut And serve thy frolic service, Charle- 
■ee Char* magne I 

lemagne, — Tlie very child of over-joyousnees, 
Hilde- Unfeeling thence, strong therefore : 

brand, Strength by stress 

Of Strength comes of tlmt forehead confident. 
Those widened e^es expecting heart's content, 
A calm as out of just-quelled noise ; nor swerves 
For doubt, tiiie ample cheek in gracious curves 
Abutting on the upthnist nether lip : 
He wills, how should he doubt then ? Ages slip : 
Was it Bordello pried into Uie work 
So far aooomplisned, and discovered lurk 
A company amid the other clans, 
Onlv distinct in priests for castellans 
And popes for suzerains (their rule confessed 
Its nue, their interest its interest. 
Living for sake of living — there an end, — 
Wrapt in itself, no energy to spend 
In making adversaries or allies), — 
Dived you into its capabilities 
And dared create, out of that sect, a soul 
Should turn a multitude, already whole. 
Into its body ? Speak plainer I Is 't so sure 
God's church lives by a King's investiture ? 
Look to last step I A stagi^rii^ — a shock — 
What 's mere sand is demolishea, while the rock 
Endures : a column of black fiery dust 
Blots heaven — that help was prematurely thrust 
Aside, perchance ! — but air clears, naught 's 

erased 
Of the true outline ! Thus much being firm 

based, 
The other was a scaffold. See him stand 
Buttressed upon his mattock, Hildebrand 
Of the huge brain-mask welded ply o'er ply 
As in a foive ; it buries either eye 
White and extinct, that stupid brow ; teeth 

clenched. 
The neck tignt-corded, too, the chin deep- 
trenched. 
As if a cloud enveloped him while fought 
Under its shade, grim prizers, thought with 

thought 
At dead-lock, agonizing he, until 
The victor thought leap radiant up, and ^11, 
The slave with folded arms and drooping lids 
They fought for, lean forth fiame-like as it 

bids. 
Call him no flower — a mandrake of the earth. 
Thwarted and dwarfed and blasted in its birth, 
Rather, — a fruit of suffering's excen. 
Thence feeling, therefore stronger : still by streas 



Of Strength, work Knowledge ! Full three hun- 
dred years 
Have men to wear away in smiles and tean 
Between the two that nearly seemed to touch. 
In com- Observe you ! qmt <me workman and 
podte you clutch 

work they Another, letting both their trains g» 
end and by — 

naue. Th^ actors-out of either's policy, 

Heinrich, on this hand^ Otho, Barbaroas, 
Carry the three Imperial crowns across, 
Aix' Iron, Milan's Silver, and Rome's Gold — 
While Alexander, Innocent uphold 
On that^ each Papal key — but, link on link. 
Why is it neither chain betrays a chink ? 
How coalesce the small and great ? Alack, 
For one thrust forward, fifty such fall back ! 
Do the popes coupled there nelp Gregory 
Alone ? Hark — from the hermit Peter's ay 
At CUuremont, down to Uie first serf that says 
Friedrich 's no liege of his while he delays 
Getting the Pope s curse off him I l^e Cru- 
sade — 
Or trick of breeding Strength by other aid 
Than Strength, is safe. Hark — from the wild 

harangue 
Of Vimmercato, to the oarroch's clang 
Yonder! The League — or trick ot turning 

Strength 
Against Pernicious Strength, is safe at length. 
Tet hark — from Mantnan Albert miJdng cease 
The fierce ones, to Saint Francis preaching peace 
Yonder I God's Truce — or trick to snpenede 
The very Use of Strength, is safe. Indeed 
We trench upon the future. Who is found 
To take next step, next age — trail o'er the 

ground — 
Shall I say, gourd-like ? — not the flower's dis- 
play 
Nor the root's prowess, but the plenteous way 
O' the plant — produced by joy and sorrow, 

whence 
Unfeeling and yet feeling, strongest thence ? 
Knowledge by stress of merely Knowledge? 

No — 
E'en were Sordello ready to fore^ 
His life for this, 't were overleaping work 
Some one has first to do, howe'er it irk, 
Nor stray a foot's breadth from the beaten road. 
Who means to help must still support the load 
Hildebrand lifted — ' why hast Thou,' he 

groaned, 
* Imposed on me a burden, Paul had moaned. 
And Moses dropped beneath ? ' Much done — 

and yet 
Doubtless that grandest task Grod ever set 
On man, left much to do : at his arm's wrench, 
Charlemagne's scaffold fell ; but pillars blench 
Merely, start back again — perchance have been 
Taken for buttresses : crasn every screen. 
Hammer the tenons better, and engage 
A gang about your work, for the next age 
Or two, of KnowledjTO, part by Strength and part 
By Knowledge I Tnen, indeed, perchanoe maj 

start 
Sordello on his race — would time divulge 
Such secrets ! If one step 's awry, one bulge 
CaUs for correction by a step we thou^t 



SORDELLO 



"3 



Got orer laag siiioe, why, till that is wrought. 

No pimgACa g r And the gcaffold in its tam 

Beonmew. its serrioe o'er, a thing to spam. 

Meanwhile, if your half-dozen years of life 

In store diigfiOHft you to foreeo the strife. 

Who takes exception ?^ Only bear in mind, 

Ferrara 's reached, Goito 'a left behind : 

If flMod- As you then were, as half yourself, 

atm troo- desist I 

Ua yoe, — The warrior-part of you may, an 

itaadoff! it list, 

Finding real falchions difficult to poise, 
Flii^ tnem afar and taste the cream of jovs 
Bv wielding such in f anov, — what is bard 
Of you may spurn the vehicle that marred 
E3^ ao mnelL, and in free fancy glut 
Hb tense, yet write no verses — you have but 
To please yourself for law, and once could please 
Whist ooee apoeared yourself, by dreaming these 
Bather than doing these, in days gone by. 
Bat all is changed the moment you descry 
lfMiV4»Ml as half yourself, — then, fancy's trade 
Aids once and always : how may half evade 
Tlie other half ? men are found half of you. 
Out of a thousand helps, just one or two 
Can be aooomplished presently : but flinch^ 
F^rom these (as from the falchion, raised an in(^, 
^fs, described a couplet) and miEdce proof 
Of faae^, — then, while one half loUs. aloof 
I* the vmes. oomideting Rome to the tip-top — 
See if, for tnat, your ouier half will stop 
Skooldttia A tear, begin a smile I The rabble's 



woes, 

P^Um al- Ludicrous in their patience as they 
"wyro. dioae 

To rit about their town and quietly 
Be slaoghtered, — the poor reckless soldiery. 
With their ignoble rhymes on Richard, how 
* Pok-foot,' sang they, * was in a pitfall now,' 
Cheering each other from the engme-mounts, — 
That enppled sprawling idiot who recounts 
How, lopped ot limbs, ne lay, stupid as stone. 
Tin ue pains crept from out him one by one. 
And wriggles round the archers on his head 
To earn a morsel of their chestnut bread, — 
And Gno, alwavs in the self -same place 
Weeding ; beside that other wretch's case, 
Evepits to ear, one gangrene since he plied 
Tjm engiuB in his ooAt of raw sheep's nide 
A doaUe watch in the noon sun ; and see 
Laeefaino, beauty, vrith the favors free. 
Trim haoipeton, spruce beard and scented hair, 
Campa^^nmg it for the first time — cut there 
In two alread^r, boy enough to crawl 
For latter orpine round the southern wall, 
Tamk, where Richard's kept, because that 
whore 
, the fool never saw before, 
:jfc kc u ed for flowers this wearisomest siege : 
: And Tiso's wife — men liked their pretty liege. 
Cared for her least of whims once, — Berta, wed 
A tirelvemonth gjone, and, now poor Tiso 's dead, 
Bi^vering heneif of his first ciiild 
■Ck that enanoe heap of wet filth, reconciled 
Ts fifty gasen I " — (Here a wind below 
Hade mMidy music angnral of woe 
From the isne barrier) — '' What if, now the 



Draws to a dose, yourself have really been 

Time htkring — Tou, plucking purples in Ooito's 

been loat, moss 

olMMMaquiok! like edges of a trabea (not to cross 

Your consul-humor) or dry aloe-shafts 

For fasces, at Ferrara — he. fate wafts. 

This very af^^ her whole inneritance 

Of opportumties ? Yet vou advance 

Upon the last I Since tjuking is your trade, 

There 's Salingnerra left you to persuade : 

Fail! then" — 

** No — no — which latest chance secure I " 
Leaped up and cried Sordello : *" * this made sure. 
The past were yet redeemable ; its work 
Was — help the Guelfa, whom I, howe'er it irk. 
Thus help f" He shook the foolish aloe-hauhn 
Tx ^-L, 1.1 Out of his doublet, paused, pro- 
Srt£* ceededcahn 

aOuelf^*" To the appointed presence. The 

' large head 

Turned on its socket ; *^ And your spokesman," 

said 
The large voice, ^* is Eloorte's happy sprout? 
Few sucn " — ^(so finishing a speech no doubt 
Addressed to Falma. silent at his side) 
^* — My sober councils have diversified. 
Elcorte's aon I good : forward as you may. 
Our lady's minstrel with so much to say I'^ 
The hesitating sunset floated back. 
Rosily traversed in the wonted track 
The chamber, from the lattice o'er the girth 
Of pines, to the huge eaf le blacked in earth 
Opposite, — outlined sudden, spur to crest. 
That solid Salinguerra, and caressed 
Palma's contour ; 't was day looped back night's 

Sordello had a chance left spite of all. 

And much he made of the convincing speech 
Meant to compensate for the past and reach 
Through his youth's daybreak of un^rofit, quite 
To his noon's labor, so proceed till ni^ht 
Leisurely I The great argument to bmd 
Taurello vrith the Guelf Cause, body and mind, 
— Came the consummate rhetoric to that ? 
Yet most Sordello's argument dropped flat 
Through his accustomed fault of breaking yoke. 
Disjoining him who felt from him who spoke. 
Was 't not a touching incident — so prompt 
A rendering the world its just accompt. 
Once proved its debtor ? Who 'd suppose, be> 

fore 
This proof, that he, Goito's god of ^ore. 
At duty's instuice could demean himself 
So memorably, dwindle to a Gruelf ? 
Be sure, in such delicious flattery steeped, 
His inmost self at the out-portion peeped. 
Thus occupied ; then stole a glance at those 
Appealed to, curious if her color rose 
Or ms lip moved, while he discreetly urged 
The need of Lombardy becoming purged 
At soonest of her barons ; the poor part 
Abandoned thus,^ missing the blood at heart 
And spirit in brain, unseasonably ofiP 
ELsewnere I But, though his speech was worthy 

scofiP, 
Good-humored Salinguerra, famed for tact 
And tongue, who, careless of his phrase, ne'er 

lacked 



114 



SORDELLO 



The right phrase, and harangued Honorius 

dumh 
At his accession. — looked as all fell plumh 
To purpose and nimself found interest 
In every point his new instructor pressed 

— Left playing with the rescriprs white wax 

seal 
To scmtinize Sordello head and heel. 
He means to yield assent sure ? No, alas ! 
All he replied was, *' What, it comes to pass 
That poesy, sooner than politics, 
MaJkes fade young hair?" To think such 

speech could fix 
Taurello ! 

Then a flash of hitter truth : 
So fantasies could break and fritter youth 
That he had long ago lost earnestness, 
« ^x _,« IjOBt will to work, lost power to 
^^i^J^T. «ven express 
JSffe^t- The need of working! Earth was 

turned a graye : 
No more occasions now, though he should crave 
Just one, in right of superhuman toil, 
To do what was undone, repair such spoil, 
Alter the past — nothing would give the chance I 
Not that he was to die ; he saw askance 
Protract the ignominious years beyond 
To dream in — time to hope and tune despond, 
Remember and forget, be sad, rejoice 
As saved a trouble ; he might, at his choice, 
One way or other, idle life out, drop 
He may No tew smooth verses by the way 

flleep on tiie — for prop, 
bed ne has A thyrsus, these sad people, all 
madB, the same. 

Should pick up, and set store by, — far from 

blame, 
Plant o'er his hearse, convinced his better part 
Survived him. ** Rather tear men out the heart 
O' the truth!" — Sordello muttered, and re- 
newed 
His propositions for the Multitude. 

But Salinguerra, who at this attack 
Had thrown great breast and ruffling corselet 

back 
To hear the better, smilingly resumed 
His task; beneath, the carroch's warning 

boomed; 
He must decide with Tito ; courteously 
He turned then, even seeming to agree 
With his admonisher — *' Assist the Pope, 
Extend Guelf domination, fill the scope 
O' the Church, thus based on All, by All, for 

AU— 
Chaise Secular to Evangelical " — 
Echoing his very sentence : all seemed lost, 
When suddenly he looked up, laughingly al- 
most. 
To Palma : ** This opinion of your friend's — 
For instance, would it answer Palma's ends ? 
Best, were it not, turn Guelf, submit our 

Strength" — 
(Here he drew out his baldric to its length) 

— ** To the Pope's Knowledge — let our captive 

slip. 
Wide to the walls throw ope our gates, ©Quip 
Azzo with .^ . . what I hold here ! Who '11 

subscribe 



To a trite censure of the minstrel tribe 
Hencef orwani ? or pronounce, as Heinridi used, 
* Spear-heads for oattie, bunvheads for the 
joust I ' 

— When Constance, for his couplets, would 

promote 
AlcamOj from a parti-colored coat, 
To holdmg her lord's stirrup in the wars. 
Not that I see where couplet-making jars 
With common sense : at Mantua I luid borne 
This chanted, better than their most forlorn 
Of bull-baits, — that 's indisputable I " 

Brave! 
Whom vanity nigh slew, contempt shall save ! 
All 's at an end : a Trouoadour suppose^ 
Mankind will class him. with their friends or 

— -, foes ? 

©rfd^»^* A puny uncouth ailing vassal think 
in hiB face '^^ world and him bound in some 

' special link ? 
Abrupt the visionary tether burst. 
What were rewarded here, or what amerced 
H a poor drudge, solicitous to dream 
Deservingly, got tangled by his theme 
So far as to conceit the knack or nft^ 
Or whatsoe'er it be, of verse, might lift 
The globe, a lever like the hand and head 
Of — ** Men of Action," as the Jongleurs said, 

— " The Great Men," in the people^s dialect ? 
And not a moment did this scorn affect 

ArouaeB him Sordello : scorn the poet ? They, 

at hut, to for once, 

some pur- Asking " what was," obtained a fall 

P*'^* response. 

Bid Naddo think at Mantua, he had but 

To look into his promptuary, put 

Finger on a set thought in a set speedi : 

But was Sordello fitted thus for each ^ 

Conjecture ? Nowise ; since within his souly 

Perception brooded unexpressed and whole. 

A healthy spirit like a healthv frame 

Craves aliment in plenty — all the same, 

Chan^pes, assimilates its aliment. 

Perceived SordeUo, on a truth intent ? 

Next day no formularies more you saw 

Than figs or olives in a sated maw. 

'T is Knowledge, whither such perceptions tend; 

They lose themselves in that, means to an end. 

The many old producing some one new, 

A last uxuike the first. H lies are true. 

The Caliph's wheel-work man of brass reoeiTes 

A meal, munched millet grains and lettuce 

leaves 
Together in his stomach rattie loose ; 
Tou find them -periect next day to prodnee : 
But ne'er expect the man, on strength of Uiat, 
Can roll an iron camel-collar flat 
Like Haroun's self I I teU you. what was stored 
And thus Bit by bit through Sordello's life. 
gets the ut- outpoured 

moat out of That eve, was, for that age, a novd 
l»im. thing: 

And round those three the People formed a rin^. 
Of visionary judges whose award 
He recognized in full — faces that haired 
Henceforth return to the old careless life. 
In whose great presence, therefore, his first 
For their sake must not be ignobly fought ; 



SORDELLO 



"5 



An these, for once, approyed of him, he thooghty 
Snapended their own yengeance, chose await 
The mme of this strife to reinstate 
Hiem in the right of taking it — in fact 
He must he proved king ere they could exact 
Vengeance for such king's defalcation. Last, 
A reMon why the phrases flowed so fast 
WaB in his quite forgetting for a time 
Hbnself in his amazement that the rhyme 
IKiriused the royalty so much : he there — 
Ana Sahngnerra vet all unaware 
Who was the lord, who liegeman ! 

" Thus I laj 
Od thine my spirit and compel obey 
His lord, — my li^;eman. — impotent to build 
Another Rome, but hardly so unskilled 
In what such builder should have been, as brook 
One ihame beyond the charge that I forsook 
His function ! Free me from that shame, I bend 
A brow before, suppose new years to spend, — 
Allow each chance, nor fruitlessly, recur — 
MJeasore thee with the Minstrel, tnen, demur 
He ■iiitt At any crowd he claims I That I 
the poet's must cede 

ink and Shamed now, my right to my especial 
"«**» meed — 

Coufeas thee fitter help the world than I 
Ordained its chaminon from eternity. 
Is moeh : but to behold thee scorn the post 
Iqnit in thy behalf — to hear thee boast 
Wnat makes my own despair I " And while he 

rung 
The changes on this theme, the roof up-sprung, 
The sad walls of the presence-chamber died 
Into the distance, or embowering yied 
Whh &uvaway Goito's yine-f rentier ; 
And crowds m faces — (only keeping clear 
The rose-light in the midst, his yantage-ground 
To fight Uieir battle from) — deep clustered 

round 
SirdeUo, with good wishes no mere breath. 
Kind prayers for him no yapor, since, come 

aeaUi, 
Come life, he was fresh-sinewed eyery loint, ^ 
Each bmie new-mttrrowed as whom goos anoint 
Ihoagh mofrtal to their rescue. Now let rorawl 
Tlie snaky yolumes hither ! Is Typhon all 
For Hercules to trample — good report 
From Sahngaerra only to extort ? 
** So was I " (dosed he his inculcating, 
A poet must be earth^s essential kin^) 
Buiiy ** So was I, royal so, and if I fail, 
these oo 'T is not the royalty, ye witness 
quail. 
But one deposed who, oaring not 
exert 

Its praper essence, trifled malapert 
With aoeidents instead — good things asagned 
As heralds of a better thing behind — 
Aad, worthy through display of these, put 

forth 
^ner the inmost allHsurpassing worth 
Aat eonstittites him king precisely since 
As yet no other sfwrit may eyince 
^nke : the power he took most pride to test, 
iVhereby all forms of life had been professed 
Atplearare, forms already on the earth. 
Was but a means to power beyond, whose birth 



Should, in its noyelty, be kingship's proof. 
Now, whether he came near or ke^t aloof 
The seyeral forms he longed to imitate. 
Not there the kingship lay, he sees too late. 
Those forms, unafterable first as last, 
Proyed him her copier, not the protoplast 
Of nature : what would come of being free, 
B^ action to exhibit tree for tree. 
Bird, beast, for beast and bird, or proye earth 

bore 
One yeritable man or woman more ? 
Means to an end, such proofs are : what the 

end? 
Let essence, whatsoe'er it be, extend — 
Neyer contract. Already you include 
The multitude ; then let the multitude 
Include yourself ; and the result were new : 
Themsefyes before, the multitude turn you. 
This were to liye and moye and haye, in them. 
Tour being, and secure a diadem 
Tou should transmit (because no cycle yearns 
Beyond itself, but on itself returns) 
When, the full sphere in wane, the world o'er- 

laid 
Long since with you, shall haye in turn obeyed 
Some orb still prouder, some displayer, stiU 
More potent tluui the last, of human will, 
Recognis- And some new king depose the old. 
ing true Of such 

dignity in Am I — whom pride of this elates 
service, too much ? 

Safe, rather say, 'mid troops of peers again ; 
I, with my words, hiuled brother of the train 
Deeds once sufficed : for, let the world roU back. 
Who fails, through deeds howe'er diyerse, re- 
track 
M^ purpose still, my task ? A teeming crust — 
Air, flame, earth, waye at conflict! TTien, 

needs must 
Emerge some Calm embodied, these refer 
The brawl to — yeUow-bearded Jupiter ? 
No ! Saturn ; some existence like a pact 
And protest against Chaos, some first fact 
I' the faint of time. My aeep of life, I know. 
Is unayailing e'en to poorly show "... 
For here the Chief immeasurably yawned) 
. . . ^* Deeds in their due gradation till<Song 

dawned — 
The fullest effluence of the finest mind, 
All in degree, no wa^ diyerse in kind 
From minds about it, minds which, more or 

less. 
Lofty or low, moye seeking to impress 
Whether Theniselyes on somewhat; but one 
■ucoes- mind has climbed 

sively that Step after step, by just ascent sub- 
of epoiet, limed. 

Thought is the soul of act, and, stage by stage, 
Soul 18 from Ixxhr still to disengage 
As tending to a freedom which rejects 
Such help and incorporeaUy affects 
■ The world, producing deeos but not by deeds. 
Swaying, in others, manes itself exceeds. 
Assigning them the simpler tasks it used 
To patiently perform till Song produced ^ 
Acte, by thoughts only, for me mind : dlyest 
Mind of e'en Thought, and, lo, God's unex- 
pressed 



Ii6 



SORDELLO 



Will draws above us I All thea is to win 
Save that. How mnoh for me, then? where 

begin 
My work ? About me, faces I and they floek, 
The earnest faces. What shall I unlock 
By son^ ? behold me prompt, whate'er it be, 
To minister : how much can mortals see 
Of Life ? No more than so ? I take tiie task 
And marshal you Life's elemental masque. 
Show Men, on evil or on ^ood lay stress, 
Dramatist, This light, this shade make promi- 
or, BO to nent, suppress 

call him. All ordinary hues that softening 
•oBlytt, ijiend 

Such natures with the l^vel. Anprehend 
Which sinner is, which saint, if 1 allot 
HelL Purgatory, Heaven, a blaze or blot, 
To those you doubt concerning ! I en womb 
Some wretched Friedrioh with nis red-hot tomb ; 
Some dubious spirit, Lombard Agilulph 
With the black chastening river I engulf I 
Some unapproached Matilaa I enshrine 
With lan^ors of the planet of deoUne — 
These, fad to recognize, to arbitrate 
Between hencefortn, to rightly estimate 
Thus marshalled in the masque I Myself, the 

while. 
As one of you, am witness, shrink or smile 
At my own showing ! Next age — what 's to 

do? 
The men and women stationed hitherto 
Will I unstation, good and bad, conduct 
Each nature to its farthest, or obstruct 
At soonest, in the world: light, thwarted, 

breaks 
A limpid purity to rainbow flakes. 
Or shadow, massed, freezes to gloom : behold 
How such, with fit assistance to unfold. 
Or obstacles to crush them, disengage 
Their forms, love, hate, hope, fear, peace 

make, war wage. 
In presence of you all I Myself, implied 
Superior now, as, by the platform's side, 
I bade them do and suffer, — would last con- 
tent 
The world . . . no — that's too far I I car- 

cumvent 
A few, my masque contented, and to these 
Offer unveil the last of mysteries — 
Man's inmost hie shall have ^et freer play : 
Once more I cast external things away. 
And natures composite, so decompose 
That" . . . Why, he writes Sordello! 

** How I rose, 
And how have you advanced I since evermore 
Yourselves effect what I was fain before 
Effect, what I supplied yourselves sug^^est. 
What 1 leave bare yourselves can now mvest. 
How we attain to talk as brothers talk, 
In half-words, call things by half-names, no 

balk , ^ 

From discontinuing old aids. To-day 
Takes in account tne work of Yesterday : 
Has not the world a Past now, its adept 
Consults ere he dispense with or accept 
New aids ? a single touch more may enhance, 
A touch less turned to insignificance 
Those structures' symmetry the past has strewed 



The world with, onoe so bare. Leave the mere 

rude 
Whotuma ExpKcit details! 'tis but brothur's 
ooiiT'^B s peecn 

aynthetlflt. ^® need, speech where an accent's 

change gives each 
The other's soul — no speech to understand 
By former audience : need was then to expand, 
Expatiate — hardly were we brothers I true ~ 
Nor I lament my small remove from yon. 
Nor reconstruct what stands already. Binds 
Accomplished turn to means : my art intends 
New structure from the ancient : as they 

changed 
The spoils of every clime at Venice, ranged 
The homed and snouted Libyan god, uprigbt 
As in his desert, by some simple bright 
Clay cinerary pitcher — Thebes as Rome, 
Athens as Byzant rified, till their Dome 
From earth's reputed consummations razed 
A seal, the all-transmuting Triad blazed 
Above. Ah, whose that fortune ? Ne'ertlie- 

less 
E'en he must stoop contented to ex^reas 
No tithe of what 's to say — the vehide 
Never sufficient : but his work is still 
For faces like the faces that select 
Thiafor The single service I am boond 
one day : effect, — 

now, serve That bid me cast aside snch fiuwaea, 

Taurello to the Ghielf cause, disallow 

The Kaiser's coming — which with heart, soul, 

strength, 
I labor for, this eve, who feel at length 
My past career's outrageous vanity. 
And would, as it amends, die, even die 
Now I first estimate the boon of Uf e. 
If death might win compliance — sure, this strife 
Is right for once — the Feople my support.*^ 

My poor Sordello ! what may we extort 
By this, I wonder ? Palma's lighted eyes 
Turned to Taurello who, long past suipriaa, 
Began, **You love him — what youNi say at 

laige 
Let me say briefly. First, your f ather^s cbarga 
To me, his friend, peruse : I gfuessed indeed 
You were no stranger to the course decreed. 
Balm. He bids me leave his children to tlie 

Saerra, saints : 

islodged As for a certain project, he aoqoaiiita 
^om his The Pope with that, and offers him 
I~^ the best 

Of your possessions to permit the rest 
Go peaceably — to Ecelin, a strine 
Of soil the cursed Vicentines will gripe, 
— To Alberic, a patch the Trevisan 
Clutches already ; extricate, who can, 
Treyille, Yillarazzi, Puissolo, 
Loria and Cartiglione ! — all must po. 
And with them go my hopes. 'T is lost, then t 

Lost 
This eve, our crisis, and some pains it cost 
Procuring ; thirty years — as good I 'd spent 
Lake our admonisher I But each his bent 
Pursues : no question, one might live absnrdl 
One's self this while, by deed as he by word 
Peisisting to obtrude an influence where 



S^DELLO 



117 



. * 

Tkniade aooonnt of, nmoh su.^ ^f.^^km 
fgf^ ~ ~ \ that u 

Fith twice the fortniie, yonng8te*^^,»» ^^^^^t, 
Happy to parallel my waste of wit , . -^ 
With tke renowned Sordello^s : 70^02>^^3 
A eomie for me. Romano may ahiU*^ 
Romano, — Baeohna I After all, what dearth 
Of Eoelins and Alberios on earth ? 
Sty there 'a a ^rize in prospect, must disgrace 
Betide oompetitors, unless they style 
Ihemselyes Romano ? Were it wortii my while 
To tiy my own Inck I Bnt an obscure place 
SnitB me— there Wants a youth to bustle, 

stalk 
Ajid attatodinize — some fieht, more talk. 
Most flannti]^ badges ^how, I might make 

dear 
Snce Friedrich's very purposes lie here 
-Here, inty they are like to Ue ! For me. 
With rtstion fixed unceremoniously 
I^ once, small use contesting ; I am but 
^ liegeman— yon are bom the lieges — shut 
That gentle mouth now I or resume your kin 
^ yoor sweet self ; were Palma Eoetin 
for me to work with ! Could that neck en- 
dure 
^ hiable for a cumbrous garniture, 
Sheihoold ... or might one bear it for her? 

A l!f ^ ^^ ^ flattered many a day 

As by yonr pale friend — Bacchus I The least 

Woold UcK the hind's fawn to a lion's whelp : 
™Mck IB broad enough — a ready tongue 
iKode— too wxithled — but, the main thing, 

Toung— 
Ittold . . . why, kM>k ye I " 
^ And the badge was thrown 

iVtopcn ^'^'^^^ Sordello's neck: **This 
iSmrto badge alone' 
Eoridlo, Makes you Romano's Head — be- 
^ comes superb 

(M your bare neck, which would, on mine, dis- 
_^ tttrf) 

The pnldron," said Taurello. A mad act, 

got erea dreamed about before — in fact, 

got wben his SDortiv e arm rose for the nonce — 

out be bad dallied oyermuch, this once, 

Tk U?' ^® thing was done, and he, aware 

ff£*uw* ^'*" done, proceeded to declare — 

Y^ OMB a nature maae to serve, excel 

T?'^' only feel by serrice well I) 
^ rhat he voold make Sordello that and more. 

Ai good a scheme as any. What 's to pore 
Ajnimyfaee?" he asked —" ponder instead 
^ piece of news ; you are Romano's Head t 
^eaaoot slacken pace so near the goal, 
^vxg my Azzo to escape heart-whole 
**■ time! For you tliAFft'B P 



there 's Palma to 



f*oie, one crowning trouble ere I house 
*«eBiy compeer." 

. On which ensued a strange 

^aolenm -vintation ; there came change 
^^nery one of them ; each looked on each : 
^PB the midst a truth grew, without speech. 
^J^^ben the giddiness sank and the haae 
they were sitting, no amaze, 



Sordello with the baldric on, his sire 

Who U dA- Silent, though his proportions seemed 

Glared Sol- aspire 

ingoerra's Momently; and, interpreting the 

aon, thrill 

Right at its ebb, Palma was found there still 

Relating somewhat Adelaide confessed 

A year ago, while dyin^ on her breast, — 

Of a contrivance that Vicenza night 

When Ecelin had birth. * ' Their convoy's flight. 

Cut off a moment, coiled inside the fUane 

That wallowed like a dragon at his game 

The toppling city through — San Biagio rocks ! 

And wounded lies in her delicious looks 

Retrude, the frail mother, on her face, 

None of her wasted, just in one embrace 

Covering her child : when, as they lifted her. 

Cleaving the tumult, mighty, miAtier 

And mightiest Taurello's cry outoroke, 

Leapt like a tongue of fire that cleaves the 

smoke. 
Midmost to cheer his Mantuans onward — 

drown 
His oollei^rue Eoelin's damor, up and down 
The disarray : failed Adelude see then 
Who was the natural chief, the man of men ? 
Outstripping time, her infant there burst 

swathe. 
Stood up witii eyes haggard beyond* the scathe 
From wandering after his heritage 
Lost once and lost for aye — and why that rage, 
That deprecating glance ? A new shape leant 
On a familiar shape — gloatingly bent 
O'er his discomfiture ; niid wreaths it wore, . 
Still one outflamed the rest — her child^s be- 
fore 
'T was Salin^erra's for his child : scorn, hate, 
Rage now might startle her when all too late ! 
Then was tne moment ! — rival's foot had 
Hidden spumed 

hitherto Never that House to earth else! 
by Ade- Sense returned — 

laide'B The act conceived, adventured and 
^^^y- complete, 

Thev bore away to an obscure retreat 
Motner and child — Retrude's self not slain " 
(N or even here Taurello moved) '"'' though pain 
Was fled : and what assured them most t was 

fled. 
All pain, was, if they raised the pale hushed 

head 
'T would turn this way and that, waver awhile, 
And only settle into its old smile — 
(Graceful as the disquieted wateivflag 
Steadying itself, remarked they, in tne quag 
On eiuier side their path) — when suffered look 
Down on her child. They marched: no sign 

once shook 
The company's close litter of crossed spears 
Till, as they reached Goito, a few tears 
Slipped in the sunset from her lon^ black lash, 
And she wasgone. So far the action rash ; 
No crime. Tney laid Retrude in the font, 
Taurello's very gift, her child was wont 
To sit beneath — constant as eve he came 
To sit by its attendant sirls the same 
As one of them. For Palma, she would blend 
With this magnific spirit to the end, 



X 



ii8 



SORDEDLO 



/ 



That ruled her first ; bat aoaroely had ehe 

dared 
To disobey the Adelaide who soared 
Her into vowing never to disclose 
A secret to her husband, which so froze 
His blood at half -recital, she contrived 
To hide from him Taurello^s infant lived. 
Lest, by revealing that, himself should mar 
Romano's fortunes. Aiid, a crime so far, 
Palma received that action : she was told 
Of S^iingnerra's nature, of his cold 
Calm acquiescence in hiis lot I But free 
To impart the secret to Romano, she 
How the Engaged to repossess Sordello of 
disooTery His heritage, and hers, and that way 
moves doff 

SaUn- The mask, but after years, long years: 

guem, while now. 

Was not Romaic's sign-mark on that brow ? " 
Across Taurello's heart his arms were locked : 
And when he did speak 't was as if he mocked 
The minstrel, ** who had not to move,*' he said, 
*^ Nor stir — should fate defraud him of a shred 
Of his son's infancy ? much less his youth ! " 
(Laughingly all this) — *^ which to aid, in truth. 
Himself, reserved on purpose, had not grown 
Old, not too old — 't was oest they kept alone 
Till now, and never idly met till now : " 

— Then, in the same breath, told Soraello how 
All intimations of this eve's event 

Were lies, for Friedrich must advance to Trent, 
Thence to Verona, then to Rome, there stop, 
Tumble the Church down, institute a-top 
The Alps a Prefecture of Lombardy : 

— ** That 's now ! — no prophesying what may 

be 
Anon, with a new monarch of the clime, 
Native of Oesi, passing his youth's prime 
At Naples. Tito bids my choice decide 
On whom" . . . 

** Embrace him, madman I " Palma cried, 
Who through the laugh saw sweat-drops burst 

apace. 
And his lips blanching : he did not embrace 
Sordello, but he laid Sordello's hand 
On his own eyes, mouth, forehead. 

Understand, 
This while Sordello was becoming flushed 
And Sor- Out of his whiteness ; thoughts 
dello the rushed, fancies rushed ; 

finallv-de- He pressed his hand upon his head 
tenuined, and signed 
Both should forbeiur him. *^ Nay, the best 's be- 

hindl" 
Taurello laughed — not quite with the same 

laugh : 
** The truth Lb, thus we scatter, ay, like chaff 
These Guelfs, a despicable monk recoils 
From : nor expect a fickle Kaiser spoils 
Our triumph I — Friedrich ? Think you, I in- 
tend 
Friedrich shall reap the fruits of blood I spend 
And bndn I waste r Think you, the people clap 
Their hands at my out-hewing iiiis ^vnld gap 
For any Friedrich to fill up ? 'T is mine — 
That 's yours : I tell you, towards some such 

design 
Have I worked blindly, yes, and idly, yes. 




tuniA 



worid^SJ(!lier, yes — but worked no less 

^ot at my heart ; I else had swerved, 
— look round ! My cunning has pre- 
^ ved 

Sanud%dato — that 's a central place 
Secures us Florence, boy, — in Pisa's case. 
By land as she by sea ; with Pisa ours. 
And Florence, and Pistoia, one devours 
The land at leisure I Gloriously dispersed — 
Brescia, observe, Milan, Piacenza fiist 
That flanked us (ah, you know not!) in the 

March; 
On these we pile, as keystohe of our arch, 
Romagna ana Bologna, whose fint span 
Covered the Trentine and the Valsugan ; 
Sofia's Egna by Bolgiano 's sure ! " . . . 
So he proceeded \ half of all this, pure 
The devil Delusion, doubtless, nor the rest too 
putting true, 

xorth his But wnat was undone he f dt sure to 
potency : do. 

As ring bv ring^ he wrong off, flung away 
The paularon-rings to give his sword-arm play — 
Need of the swoid now ! That would soon ad- 
just 
Aught wrong at present : to the sword introst 
Soidello's whiteness, unaersize : 't was plain 
He hardly rendered right to his own brain — 
Idke a brave hound, men educate to pride 
Himself on speed or scent nor aught beside. 
As though he could not, nft by gift, match men ! 
Since Sor- Palma had listenea patiently : but 
deUo, who when 

began by 'T was time expostulate, attempt 
rhyming, withdraw 
Taurello from lus child, she, without awe 
Took off his iron arms from, one by one, 
Sordello's shrinking shoulders, and, that done. 
Made him avert his visage and relieve 
Sordello (you might see his corselet heave 
The while) who, loose, rose — tried to speak, 

then sank : 
They left him in the chamber. All was blank.. 

And even reeling down the niurrow stair 
Taurello kept up, as though unaware 
Palma was by to guide him, the old device 
— Something of Milan — **how we mnster 

thrice 
The Torriani's strength there : all along 
Our own Yisoonti cowed them '' — thus the 90iag 
Continued even while she bade him stoop, 
Thrid somehow, by some glimpse of arrow-loop. 
The turnings to the gallery below. 
Where he stopped short as Palma let him 

When ne had sat in silence long enough 

Splintering the stone bench, braving a rebnff 

She stopped the truncheon ; only to oommencse 

One of oordello's poems, a pretence 

For speaking, some poor rhyme of ** EHys* hur 

And head that 's sharp and perfect like a peshr. 

So smooth and close are laid the few fine looks 

May, even Stained like pale honey oozed £roixL 

from the topmost rocks 

depths of Sun-blanched the livelong smmner ** 

faUure — from his worst 

Performance, the Goito, as his first : 

And that at ^id, conceiving from the brow 




SORDELLO 



119 



Ajid open month no silenoe wonld aenre now. 
Went on to say the whole world loYed that man 
And, for that matter, thought hia face, tiiongh 



£cIipBed the Count's — he sucking in each 

phrase 
As if an angel spoke. The foolish praise 
&ided, he aiew her on his mailed knees, made 
Her face a framework with his hands, a shade, 
A eiown, ao aureole : there must she remain 
(Her Utile mouth oompressed with smiling pain 
As in his ^oyes she felt her tresses twitch) 
To get the best look at, in fittest niche 
Di^oae hia saint. That done, he kissed her 

hrow, 
— '^Lauded her &ther for his treason now," 
Ha told her, ** only, how could one suspect 
The wit in him ? — whose clansman, recollect, 
Wii erer Salinguerra — she, the same, 
Ramano and his lady — so, might claim 
To know alL as she should " — and thua begun 
Sdiemes iHtL a vengeance, achemea on achemes, 

** not one 
FH to be told that fooliah boy,'* he aaid, 
**Biit only let Sordello Pahna wed, 
-Then!*^ 

'T was a dim long narrow place at best : 
Tefc qiriiig Midway a aole grate showed the fiery 
tothewm. Weat, 

■ittf no- Aa ahowa its corpse the world's end 
*■» some split tomb — 

A gloom, a rift of fire, anothergloom, 
fsied Fuma — but at length Tanrello set 
Her free ; the |^ting held one ragged jet 
Of fierce gold fire : he lifted her within 
Tlie hcJlow nndemeath — how else begin 
Fate's second maryelloua cycle, else renew 
The ages than with Palma plain in yiew ? 
Then paeed the paaaage, hands clenched, head 

erect, 
Pnraoing hia discouise ; a grand unchecked 
Monotony made out from his quick talk 
And the reooning noises of his walk : 
—Somewhat too much like the o'erchaiged as- 
sent 
Of two resolved friends in one danger blent. 
Who hearten each the other against heart ; 
Boaating there's naught to care for, when, 

ainrt 
llie boaster, aU 's to care for. He, beside 
Some shape not visible, in power and pride 
Appraadied, out of the dark, ginglingly near, 
iraarer, passed dose in the broad light, his ear 
Crmwwn, eyeballs suffused, temples full- 

frangut, 
Joat a snatch of the rapid speech you caught, 
And on he strode into the opposite dark, 
IHl pveaently the harsh heel s turn, a spark 
1' toe atone, and whirl oi aome loose embossed 

thong 
That eraahed against the angle aye so long 
Allb^ Ae last, punctual to an amount 
Of mailed great paces yon could not but count, — 
IVeuved yon for tiie pacing back again. 
Aaa try the snatoheB yon might aacwtain 
That, Fxiedrieh'a Prefecture aurmounted, left 
By this iJone in Italy, they cleft 
Aander, cmahed together, at command 



Of none, were free to break up Hildebrand, 

If he con- Rebuild, he and BordeUo, Gharle- 

sent to op- magne — 

press the But gamiahed. Strength with Know- 

^o'l^ le<&e, " if we deign 

Accept that compromiae and atoop to give 

Rome law. the Cfesar's Representative." 

£noujg:h, that the illimitable flood 

Of triumphs after triumphs, understood 

In its faint reflux (you shall hear) sufficed 

Young Eoelin for appanage, enticed 

Him on tiU, these long quiet in their graves. 

He found 'twas looked for that a whole life's 

braves 
Should somehow be made good ; so, weak and 

worn. 
Must stagger up at Milan, one gray mom 
Of the to-come, and fight his latest fight. 
But, Salinguerra's prophecv at height — 
Jiut thia He voluble with a raised arm and 
decided, as stiff, 

it now msy A blaring voice, a blazing eye, as if 
^1 He had our very Italy to keep 

Or cast away, or gather in a heap 
To garriaon the better — a^, his word 
Was, ** run the cucumber mto a gourd, . 
Drive Trent upon Apulia" — at their pitch 
Who spied the continents and islands which 
Grew mulberry-leaves and sickles, in the 

map — 
(Strange that three such confessions so should 

hap 
To Palma, Dante rooke with m the dear 
Amorous silence 01 the Swooning^phere, — 
Cunizza, as he called her I Never ask 
Of Palma more I She sat, knowing her task 
Was done, the labor of it, — for, success 
Concerned not Palma, passion's votaress) 
Triumph at height, and thus Sordello crowned — 
Above the passage suddenly a sound 
Stops speech,^ stops walk : back shrinks Tau- 

reUo, bids 
With large involuntary asking lids, 
Palma interoret. ** 'T is his own footrstamp — 
Tour hand I His summons ! Nay, this idle 

damp 
Befits not !" Out thev two reeled dizzily. 
"" Yisconti 's strong at Milan," resumed he. 
In the old, somewhat insignificant way — 
(Was Palma wont, years afterward, to aay) 
Aa though the spirit's flight, sustained thus 

far. 
Dropped at that very instant. 

Gone they are — 
Palma, Taurello ; Eglamor anon, 
Ecelin, — only^ Naddo 's never gone I 
— Labors, this moonrise, what the Master 

meant — 
*^ Is Squarcialupo speckled ? — purulent, 
I 'd say,^ but when was Providence put out ? 
He carries somehow handilv about 
His spite nor fouls himself f " Gbito's vines 
Stana like a cheat detected — stark loug^ 

lines, 
The moon breaks through, a gray mean scale 

against 
The vault where, this eve's M^den, thou re- 

main'st 



120 



SORDELLO 



Like some fresh martyr, eyes fixed — who can 

teU? 

Ab Heayen, now all 's at end, did not so well, 

. . Spite of the faith and victory, to 

Andwe lea^e 

J^^ Its virgin quite to death in the lone 

eve. 
While the persisting hermit-hee ... ha ! wait 
No longer : tiieee in oompaas, forward fate I 



BOOK THE SIXTH 

The thonght of Eglamor's least like a thought, 
AtthA And yet a false one, was, * Man 

dose of ft shrinks to naught 
dfty or ft If matched with symbols of immena- 
life, ity ; 

Must quail, forsooth, before a quiet sky 

Or sea, too little for their quietude : *' 

And. tmlv^ somewhat in Sordello's mood 

Confirmed its speciousness, while eve slow sank 

Down the near terrace to the farther bank. 

And only one spot left from out the night 

Glimmered upon the river opposite — 

A breadth of watery heaven uke a bay, 

A sky-like si>aoe of water, ray for ray, 

And star for star, one richness where they 

mixed 
As this and that wing of an angel, fixed. 
Tumultuary splendors folded in 
To die. Nor turned he till Ferrara's din 
(Say, the monotonous speech from a man's lip 
Who lets some first ana eager purpose slip 
In a new fancy's birth ; the speech keeps on 
Though elsewhere its informing soul be gona) 
— Aroused him^ surely ofPered succor. Fate 
Paused with this eve ; ere she precipitate 
Herself, — best put off new strange thoughts 

awhile. 
That v<Mce, those large hands, that portentous 

smile, — 
What help to fierce tiie future as the past, 
Lay in iJie plaining city ? 

And at last 
The nuun discovery and prime concern, 
All that just now imported him to learn, 
Truth's self, like yonder slow moon to com- 
plete 
Heaven, rose again, and, naked at his feet, 
Lighted his old lif e s every shift and change, 
Fftstpro- Effort with counter-effort; nor the 
oedureu range 

fltliest n- Of each looked wrong except wherein 
viewed, it checked 

Some other — which of these could he suspect. 
Prying into them by the sudden blaze ? 
The real way seemed made up of all the ways — 
Mood after mood of the one mind in him ; 
Tokens of the enstenoe, bright or dim. 
Of a transcendent all-embracing sense 
Demanding only outward influence, 
A soul, in Palma's phrase, above his souL 
Power to uplift his power, — such moon's con- 
trol 
Over such seardepths, — and their maas had 

swept 
Onward from the beginning and still kept 



Its course : but years and years the sky above 
Held none, and so, untasked of any love. 
His sensitiveness idled, now amort, 
Alive now, and, to sullenness or sport 
Given wholly up, disposed itself anew 
At every passing instigation, grew 
And dwindled at capnoe, in f oam-showeiB spilt, 
Wedge^like insisting, quivered now a gilt 
Shield in the sunshine, now a blinding race 
Of whitest lipples o'er the reef — found plaoe 
For much display ; not gathered up and, norled 
Right from its heart, encompassing the world. 
So nad Sordello been, bv consequence. 
Without a function : others made pretence 
To strength not half his own, yet had some oore 
Within, submitted to some moon, before 
Them still, superior still whate'er their force, — 
Were able therefore to fulfil a course. 
Nor miased life's crown, authentic attribute. 
To each who lives must be a certain fruit 
Of having lived in his degree, — a stage. 
Earlier or later in men's pilgrimage. 
To stop at ; and to this the spirits tend 
Who, still diiKSoyering beauty without end. 
Amass the scintillations, make one star 
— Something unlike them, self-sustauned, 

afar, — 
And meanwhile nurse the dream of being* blest 
By winning it to notice and invest 
Their souls with alien glory, some one day 
As more Whene'er the nucleus, gathering 
ftppredft- shape alway, 

bleinits Roimd to the perfect circle — aoon 
entirety. or late. 

According as themselves are formed to wait ; 
Whether mere human beauty will suffice 

— The yellow hair and the luxurious eyes. 
Or human intellect seem best, or each 
Combine in some ideal form past reach 

On earth, or else some shade of these, some aim. 
Some love, hate even, take their place, the same. 
So to be served — all this they do not lose. 
Waiting for death to live, nor idly choose 
What must be Hell — a progress thus pnrsned 
Through all existence, stiU above the tood 
That 's offered themj still fain to reach beyond 
The widened range, in virtue of their bond 
Of sovereignty. Not that a Palma's Love, 
A Salin^erra's Hate, would eaual prove 
To swaying all Sordello : but why doubt 
Strong, he Some love meet for such strengtlu 
needed some moon without 

eztemftl Would match his sea ? — or fear, 
■*>«>8*J>= Good manifest, 
Only the Best breaks faith ? — Ah, but the Best 
Somehow eludes us ever, still might be 
And is not ! Grave we gems ? No penury 
Of iJieir material round us ! Pliant earth 
And plastic fiame — what balks the mage his 
birth 

— Jacinth in balls or lodestone by the block ? 
Flinders enrich the strand, veins swell the roolc ; 
Naught more I Seek creatures ? life 's i' ihn 

tempest, thou|rht 
Clothes the keen hill^top, mid-day woods 

fraught 
With fervors : human forms are well enough ! 
But we had hoped, encouraged by the stuff 



SORDELLO 



121 



Prafniie at natnre's pleasure, men beyond 
Tlieee wstaal men ! — and thns are over-fond 
In amdng^ from Good — the Best, from force 
DiTiaed — force eombined, an ooean*s oourae 
From this onr sea vhose mere intestine pants 
Mwht seem at times sufficient to onr wants. 

Sztemal power ? If none be adequate, 
And he stand forth ordained (a prouder fate) 
Himflelf a law to his own sphere ? — remoye 
All inoompleteneas, for that law, that love ? 
N»r|U all other laws be feints, — truth veiled 
HdpfoUy to weak vision that had failed 
To gTa^ anght but its special want, — for lure, 
&iDodied ? Stronger vision could endure 
The unbodied want: no part — the whole of 

truth! 
The Pec^le were himself ; nor, by the ruth 
At their condition, was he less impelled 
Iks now, To alter the discrepancy beheld, 
wbereeaa Than if, from the sound whole, a 
heper- sickly part 

cdTB Subtracted were transformed, decked 

■«** out ¥dth lu*. 

Then palmed on him as alien woe— the Guelf 
To sneoor, proud that he forsook himself, 
btenud All is himself ; all service, therefore, 
iferensth rates 

Boatni- Alike, nor serving one part, immo- 
Am tben, lates 

Hie rest: but all in tune I ''That kinoe of 

yours 
Makes havoc soon with Malek and his Moors, 
That buckler 's lined with many a giant *s beard. 
Ere long^ onr champion, be the lance upreared, 
Hie bnekler wieldea handsomely as now I 
But view your escort, bear in mind your vow. 
Count the pale tracts of sand to pass ere that. 
And, if you hope we struggle through the flat. 
Put lance and buckler by ! Next half-month 

lacks 
3fere sturdv exercise of mace and^ axe 
To deave this dismal brake of prickly-pear 
Which bristling holds Cydippe by the hair, 
Lames bar«foot Agathon: this felled, well 

try 
The pietaresque achievements by and by — 
Nextlifel" 

Ay, rally, mock, People," urge 
Your daiinal — for thus he ventured, to the 

Puah a vain mummery which perchance dis- 



Of bis fast^Uppinir resolution thrust 
Likewise : aoeordinfirly the Crowd — (as yet 
He had unoonsciousry contrived forget, 
r the whole, to dwell o' the points . . . one 

might assuage 
Hie signal horrors easier than engage 
With a dim vulgar vast unobvious grief 
Kot to be fancied off, nor gained relief 
la brilfiant fits, cured by a happy quirk, 
But by dim vulgar vast unobvious work 
To tmmBpond . . .) — this Crowd then, forth 

they stood. 
** And now content thy stronger vision, brood 
(^ tiiy bare want ; unoovereo, turf by turf, 
Stedy the oorpse-faee through the taint-worms^ 



Down sank the People^s Then ; up-rose their 
Now 
These sad ones render service to! And how 
HiBsym- Piteously little must that service 
patby prove 

with the — Had surely proved in any case ! 
people, to f OT^ move 

^^^ * Each other obstacle away, let youth 

Become aware it had surprised a truth 
'T were service to impart — can truth be seized, 
Settled forthwith, and, of the captive eased. 
Its captor find fresh prey, since this alit 
So happily, no gesture luring it. 
The earnest of a fiock to foflow ? Vain, 
Most vain ! a life to spend ere this he chain 
To the poor crowd's complacence : ere the crowd 
Pronounce it captured, he descries a cloud 
Its kin of twice the plume ; which he, in turn. 
If he shall live as many lives, mav learn 
How to secure : not else. Then Mantua called 
Back to his mind how certain bards were 
thralled 

— Buds blasted, but of breath more like per- 

fume 
Thau Naddo's staring nosegay's carrion bloom ; 
Some insane roee that burnt heart out in tfweets, 
A spendthrift in the spring, no summer greets ; 
Some Dularete, drunk with truths and wine. 
Grown bestial, dreaming how become divine. 
Tet to surmount this obstacle, commence 
With the commencement, merits crowning! 

Hence 
Must truth be casual truth, elicited 
In sparks so mean, at intervals dispread 
So rarely, that 't is like at no one time 
Of the world's story has not truth, the prime 
Of truth, the very truth which, loosed, had 

hurled 
The world's course right, been really in the 

world 

— Content the while with some mean spark by 

dint 
Of some chance-blow, the solitary hint 
Of buried fire, which, rip earth's breast, would 

stream 
Sky-ward ! 

Sordello's miserable gleam 
Was looked for at the moment : he would dash 
This badge, and all it brought, to earth, — abash 
Taurello thus, perhaps persuade him wrest 
The Kaiser from his purpose, — would attest 
His own belief, in any case. Before 
Of which. He dashes it however, think once 
txy now more ! 

the inher- For, were that little, truly service ? 
ent force! **Ay 

I' the end, no doubt ; but meantime ? Plain 

you spy 
Its ultimate effect, but many flaws 
Of vision blur each intervening cause. 
Were the day's fraction dear as the life's sum 
Of service, Kow as filled as teems To-come 
With evidence of good — nor too minute 
A share to vie with evil ! No dispute, 
'T were fitliest maintain the Guells in rule : 
That makes your life's work : but yon have to 

school 
Your day's work on these natures circumstanced 



122 



SORDELLO 



Thus varioiuly. which yet. as each advanced 
Or might impeae the Graeli rale, miut be xnoyed 
Now, for the Hien's sake, — hating what yon 

loved. 
Loving old natreds ! Nor if one man bore 
BrancTupon temples while his fellow wore 
The aureole, woold it task you to decide : 
But, portioned duly out, the future vied 
Never with tiie imparceUed present ! ^ Smite 
Or spare so much on warrant all so slight ? 
The present^s conaplete sympathies to oreak. 
Aversions bear with^ for a future^s sake 
So feeble ? Tito rumed throuj^h one sneck. 
The Legate saved by his sole Lghtish neck ? 
This were work, true, but work performed at 

cost 
Of other work ; aught gained here, elsewhere 

lost. 
For a new segment spoil an orb half-done ? 
Rise with Uie People one step, and sink — one ? 
Were it but one step, less than the whole face 
Of thiols, your novel duty bids erase ! 
Harms to abolish I What, the prophet saith. 
The minstrel singeth vainly then ? Old faith, 
Old courage, onlv bom because of harms, 
Were not, from highest to the lowest, charms ? 
Flune may persist ; but is not glare as stanch ? 
Where the salt marshes stagnate, crystals 

branch ; 
Blood dries to crimson ; Evil 's beautified 
In every shape. Thrust Beauty then aside 
And banish Evil I Wherefore? After all. 
Is Evil a result less natural 
Than Good ? For overlook the seasons' strife 
With tree and flower, — the hideous animal life, 
(Of which who seeks shall find a grinning taunt 
How much For his solution, and endure the vaunt 
ofnuiii*8 Of nature's angel, as a child that 
ill nwy be knows 

ramo'^wl ? Himself befooled, unable to propose 
Aught better than the fooling) — and but care 
For men, for the mere People then and there, — 
In these, could you but see that Gfood and 111^ 
Claimed you ahke ! Whence rose their claim 

but still 
From 111, as fruit of HI ? What else could knit 
You theirs but Sorrow ? Any free from it 
Were also free from you ! Whose happiness 
Could be distinguished in this morning's press 
Of miseries ? — the fool's who naased a gioe 
* On thee,' jeered he, * so wedded to th^ tribe, 
Thou earnest green and yellow tokens m 
Thy very face that thou art Ghibellin ! ' 
Much hold on you that fool obtained I Nay 

mount 
Yet higher — and upon men's own account 
How much Must evu stay : for, what is joy ? — 
of illonght to heave 

to be re- Up one obstruction more, and com- 
moved? mon leave 

What was pecidiar, by such act destroy 
Itself ; a partial death is eve^ joy ; 
The sensible escapci enfranchisement 
Of a sphere's essence : once the vexed — content, 
The cramped — at large, the growing circle — 

round, 
All 's to begin again — some novel bound 
To break, some new enlargement to entreat ; 



what cost 

toBois 

deUo? 



The sphere though larger is not more complete. 
Now tor Mankind's experience : who alone 
l^ht style the unobstructed world his own ? 
Whom palled Goito with its perfect things ? 
Sordello's self : whereas for Mankind springs 
Salvation by each hindrance interposed. 
They climb ; life's view is not at once diadoeed 
To creatures caught up, on the summit left. 
Heaven plain above them, yet of winss bereft : 
But lower laid, as at the mountain's foot. 
So, range on range, the girdling forests sUKot 
Twixt your plain prospect and the throngs who 

scale 
Height after height, and pierce mists, veil by 

veil. 
Heartened with each discovery ; in their sonl, 
The Whole they seek by Parts — but, found that 

Whole, 
Could they revert, enjoy past gains ? The space 
Of time you judge so meagre to embrace 
The Parts were more than plenty, once attained 
The Whole, to quite exhaust it: naught were 

gained 
But leave to look — not leave to do : Beneath 
Soon sates the looker — look above, and Deadi 
Tempts ere a tithe of Life be tasted. Live 
First, and die soon enou|:h, Sordello ! Give 
If re- Bod^ and spirit the first right they 

moyed, at claim. 

And pasture soul on a vclnptiuRis 

shame 
That you, a pageant-city's denizen. 
Are neither vilely lodged 'midst Lombard men — 
Can force joy out of sorrow, seem to truck 
Bright attributes away for sordid muck. 
Yet manage from that very muck educe 
Qo\d ; then subject nor scruple, to your cmce 
The world's -discardings I Though real ingots 

pay 

Your pains, the dods that yielded them are 

clay 
To aU beside, — would clay remain, thongfa 

quenched 
Your purging-fire ; who 's robbed then ? Had 

you wrenched 
An ampler treasure forth ! — As 't is, they crave 
A share that ruins you and will not save 
Them: Why should sympathy command yaa 

quit 
The course that makes your joy, nor will remit 
Their woe? Would all arrive at joy P Reverse 
Men win The order (time instructs yon) nor 
little coerce^ 

thereby; Each unit till, some predetermined, 
he loses mode, 

*^ ' The total be emancipate ; men's roaid 

Is one, men's times of travel many ; thwart 
No enterprising soul's precocious start 
Before the general march ! If slow or fast 
All straggle up to the same ^int at last^ 
Why grudge your having gamed, a month ago. 
The brakes at balmnshed, asphodels in blowr. 
While they were landlocked r Speed their Then, 

but now 
This badge would suffer you improve your 

Now I " 
His time of action for, against, or with 
Our world (I labor to extract the pitli 



SORDELLO 



123 



Of this his problem) grew, that even-tide, 

CSigantie with its power of joy, beside 

Hie worid^s eternity of impotenoe 

To prt^t thoiu^h at his whole joy's expense. 

Ftofaeean *^Make nothing of my day because 

inflnlteiy so brief ? 

tuiajhba- Rather make more : instead of joy, 

"*^ nse grief 

Before its novelty have time subside I 

Wait not for the late savor, leave untried 

Virtne, die creaming honey-wine, quick squeeze 

^^ee like a biting spirit from the lees 

Of life I Together let wrath, hatred, lust. 

All tynuinleB in every shape, be thrust 

Upon this Now, whidh time may reason out 

As misehiefs, far fnmi benefits, no doubt ; 

But loqg ere then Sordello will have slipped 

Away - yon teach him at (3k>ito's crypt. 

There s a blank issue to that fiery thrill. 

Sdrring, the few cope with the many, still : 

So mndi of sand as, quiet, makes a mass 

UnaUe to produce three tufts of grass. 

Shall, troQoled bv the whirlwind, render void 

Hie whole calm glebe's endeavor : be employed ! 

And e'en though somewhat smart the Crowd for 

this, 
Contribate each his pang to make your bliss, 
T is but one pang — one blood-drop to the bowl 
Which brimful tempts the sluggish asp uncowl 
At last^ stains ruddily the dull red cape. 
And, kindling orbs grav as the unripe grape 
Befof«, avails forthwith to disentrance 
The portent, soon to lead a mvstic dance 
Among yon I For, who sits cuone in Rome ? 
Have UMSe great hands indeed hewn out a home. 
Awl set me there to live ? Oh life, life-breath, 
lile-hlood, — ere sleep, come travail, life ere 

dei^I 
This life stream on my souL direct, oblique, 
Bvt always streaming! Hindrances? They 

niqne: 
Helps ranch . . . but why repeat, my soul o'er- 

tops 
Eadi height, then every depth profbundlier 

drops? 
Kaong^ that I can live, and would live I Wait 
For some transcendent life reserved by Fate 
To follow this? Oh, never I Fate, I trust 
The same, my soul to ; for, as who flings dust, 
Perehaaea (ao facile was the deed) she checked 
The void with these materials to affect 
\ Hj mnd diversely : these consigned anew 
I To naught by death, what marvel if she threw 
|. A second and saperber spectacle 
Befaceme? Wnat may serve for sun, what still 
Wander a moon above me ? What else wind 
About me like the pleasures left behind, 
Aad how ahall some new flesh that is not flesh 
Cfag to me f What 's new laughter ? Soothes 

the fresh 
St^like sleep? Fate 'sezhaustlesB for my sake 
Atasve leaonree : but whether bids she slake 
JpiUat at this first rivulet, or count 
Us hmag^t worth lip save from some rocky 



, <Ahoif« i* the donds, while here she 's provident 
[^ pan kMioacioiis pearl, the soft tree-tent 

' ~ its face of reate and sedge, nor fail 



The silver globules and gold-sparkling grail 
At bottom r Oh, 't were too absurd to slight 
For the hereafter the to-day's delight I 
Quench thirst at this, then seek next weU-^wiug: 

wear 
Homc^lilies ere strange lotus in my hair I 
Here is the Crowd, whom I with freest heart 
Offer to serve, contented for my part 
Freed from To give life up in service, — only 
a problem- grant 

atic obli- Tmit I do serve ; if otherwise, why 
gatlon, want 

Ai^ht further of toe ? If men cannot choose 
But set aside life, why should I refuse 
The gift ? I take it — I, for one, engage 
Never to falter through my pilgrimage — 
Nor end it howling that the stock or stone 
Were enviable, truly : I, for one. 
Will praise the world, vou style mere anteroom 
To palace — be it so I snail I assume 
— My foot the courtly gait, my toxigue the trope. 
My mouth the smirk, before the doors fly ope 
One moment ? What ? with guarders row on 

row. 
Gay swarms of varletry that come and go. 
Pages to dice with, waiting-girls unlace 
The plackets of, pert claimants help displace, 
Heart-heavy suitors get a rank for, — l&ti^l^ 
At yon slecK parasite, break his own staff 
'Cross Beetle-brows the Usher's shoulder, — why. 
Admitted to iJie presence bv and by. 
Should thought of having lost these make me 

grieve 
Amon^i: new joys I reach, for joys I leave ? 
Cool atrine-crystals, fierce pyropn»«tone. 
Are floor-work there I But do I let alone 
That black-eyed peasant in the vestibule 
Once and forever r — Floor-work ? No such fool ! 
Rather, were heaven to forestall earth, I 'd say 
I, is it, must be blessed ? Then, my own way 
And ao- Bless me I GKve firmer arm and 
cepting fleeter foot, 

life on its I '11 thank you : but to no mad wings 
own terms, transmute 
These limbs of mine — our greensward was so 

softi 
Nor camp I on the thundei>Kdoud aloft : 
We feel me bliss distinctlier, having thus 
Engines subservient, not mixed up with us. 
Better move palpably through neaven: nor, 

freed 
Of fleshj forsooth, from space to space proceed 
'Mid flymg synods of worlds I No : in heaven's 

marge 
Show Titan still, recumbent o'er his targe 
Solid wii^ stars — the Centaur at his game, 
Made tremulously out in hoarv flame! 

" Life ! Tet the very cup whose extreme dull 
Dreffl, even, I would QuafL was dashedi at full, 
Asiae so oft ; the death I fly, revealed 
So oft a better life this life concealed. 
And whidi sage, champion, martyr, through 
Which, yet, each path 

othen Have hunted fearlessly — the horrid 

have re- bath, 

notmcad: 'phg crippling - irons and the fiery 
^^'^^ chair. 

'T was well for them ; let me become aware 



124 



SORDELLO 



As they, and I relm^nish life, too I Let 
Wliat masters life dudose itself I Forget 
Vain ordinances, I haye one appeal — 
I feel, ain what 1 feel, know what I feel ; 
So much is truth to me. What Is, then ? Since 
One object, viewed diverselj, may evince 
Beaaty and ugliness — this way attract. 
That way repel, — why gloze upon die tact ? 
Why must a single of the sides be right ? 
What bids choose this and leave the opposite ? 
Where *b abstract Right for me ? — in youth en- 
dued 
With Right still present, still'to be pursued, 
Through all the interchange of circles, rife 
Each with its proper law and mode of life, 
Each to be dwelt at ease in : where, to sway 
Absolute with the Kaiser, or obey 
Implicit with his serf of nuttering heart, 
Or, like a sudden thought of Qod^s, to start 
Up, Brutus in the presence, then go shout 
That some should pick the unstrung jewels out — 
Each, well ! " 

And, as in moments when the past 
Ghftve partixdly enfranchisement, he cast 
Himself quite through mere secondary states 
Of his soul's essence, little loves and hates, 
Beoauae Ii^to the mid deep yearnings overlaid 
there is ft By these ; as who should pierce hill, 
life beyond plain, grove, glade, 
^*» And on into the veiy nucleus probe 

That first determined there exist a globe. 
As that were easiest, half the globe dissolved, 
So seemed Sordello's dosing^truth evolved 
By his flesh-half ^8 break up ; the sudden swell 
Of his expanding soul showed HI and Well, 
Sorrow and Joy, Beauty and Ugliness, 
Virtue and Vice, the Larger and the Leas, 
All qualities, in fine, recorded here. 
Might be but modes of Time and this one sphere. 
Urgent on these, but not of force to bind 
Eternity, as Time — as Matter — Mind, 
If Mina, Eternity, should choose assert 
Their attributes within a Life : thus girt 
With circumstance, next chai^:e beholds them 

dnct 
Quite otherwise — with Good and 111 distinct, 
Joys, sorrows, tending to a like result — 
Contrived to render easy, difficult. 
This or the other course of . . . what new bond 
In place of flesh may stop their flight beyond 
Its new sphere, as that course does harm or good 
To its arrangements. ^ Once this understood. 
As suddenly he felt himself alone. 
Quite out of Time and this world : all was 

known. 
What made the secret of his past despair ? 
— Most imminent when he seemed most aware 
Of his own self -sufficiency ; made mad 
By craving to expand the power he had. 
And not new power to be expanded ? — just 
This made it : Soul on Matter beiiig thrust, 
Joy comes when so much Soul is wreaked in 

Time 
On Matter, — let the Soul^s attempt sublime 
Matter beyond the scheme and so prevent 
By more or less that deed^s accomplishment. 
And Sorrow follows : Sorrow how avoid ? 
Let the employer match the thing employed, 



Fit to the finite his infinity^ 

And thus proceed forever, m degree 

And with Chan^^ed but in kind the same, still 

new oondi- limited 

tionaof To the appointed circumstance and 

Bucoeu, dead 

To all beyond. A sphere is but a rohere ; 

Spoall, Great, are merely terms we bandy here ; 

Since to the spirit's absoluteness all 

Are like. Now, of the present sphere we oaU 

Life, are conditions ; take but tms amon^ 

Many ; the body was to be so long 

Youthful, no longer : but, since no control 

Tied to that body's puiposes his soul. 

She chose to understand the body's trade 

More than the body's self — had fain conveyed 

Her boundless, to the body's bounded lot. 

Hence, the soul permanent, the body not, — 

Scarcely its minute for enjoying here, — 

The soul must needs instruct her weak oompeer. 

Run o'er its capabilities and wring 

Ajoy thence, she held worth en)erienoinfi^ : 

Whichj far from half discovered even, — To, 

The minute gone, the body's power let go 

Apportioned to that joy's acquirement ! Broke 

Nor such Morning o'er earth, he yearned for 

as, in this, all it woke — 

produce From the volcano's vapor-flafir, winds 

failure. hoist 

Black o'er the spread of sea, — down to the moist 
Dale's silken barley-spikes sullied with rain. 
Swayed earthwards, heavUv to rise again — 
The Small, a sphere as perfect as the Great 
To the soul's absoluteness. Meditate 
Too long on such a morning's duster-chord 
And the whole music it was framed afford, — 
The chord's might half discovered, what should 

pluck 
One string, his finger, was found palsy-stmok. 
And then no marvel if the spirit, shown 
A saddest sight — the bodv lost alone 
Through her officious proffered help, deprived 
Of this and that enjoyment Fate contrived, — 
Virtue, Good, Beauty, each aUowed slip henoe, — 
Yaingloriously were fain, for recompense. 
To stem the ruin even vet, protract 
The body's term, supply the power it lacked 
From her infinity, compel it learn 
These qualities were only Time's concern. 
And body may, with spirit helping, barred — 
Advance the same, vanquished — obtain reward. 
Reap joy where sorrow was intended grow. 
Of Wrong make Right, and turn 111 Good belo^w. 
And the result is, the poor body soon 
Sinks under what was meant a wondrous boon. 
Leaving its bright accomplice all aghast. 
So much was plain then, proper in the 



To be complete f or,^tisf y the whole 
Series of spheres — Eternity, his soul 
Needs must exceed^ prove mcomplete for. ei 
Single sphere — Time. But does onr kn< 



leoge reach 

No farther ? Is the cloud of hindrance broke 
But, even But by the failing of the fleshly yiftV-^ 
here, is Its loves and hates, as now 
&ilare in- death lets soar 
evitoble ? Sordello, self-sufficient as bef oi^ 
Though duiing the mere space that shall el 



SORDELLO 



125 




^wixt liis enthralment in new bonds, perhaps ? 
Most life be ever just escaped, which snonla 
HsTe been enjoyed? — nay, might have been 

and wonld. 
Each pmnoee oraered right — the sonl 's no whit 
Beyond tne body's purpose under it — 
like Yonder bieadtn ox watery heayen, a bay. 
And tnat ^y-spaoe of water, rav for ray 
And star for star, one richness where they mixed 
As this and that wing of an angel, fixed, 
Tomaltnary splendors folded in 
To die — would soul, proportioned thus, begin 
Exciting discontent, or surelier quell 
The body if, aspirinp:, it rebel ? 
But bow so order liJK ? Still brutalize 
The soul, the sad world's way, with muffled eyes 
To all that was before, all that shall be 
After this sphere — all and each quality 
Saye some sole and immutable Groat-Good 
And Beauteous whither fate has loosed its hood 

To follow? Neyer may some soul 
see All 

— The Great Before and After, and 
the Small 

Now, yet be sayed by this the sim- 
plest lore, 

And take the single course prescribed before. 
As the kini^bird with ages on his plumes 
Trayels todie in his ancestral glooms ? 
But where desCTv the Loye that shall select 
That oonzse ? Here is a soul whom, to afiEect, 
Nature has plied with all her means, from trees 
And flowers e'en to the Multitude I — and these, 
Deeides be saye or no ? One word to end I 

Ah, my Sordello, I this once befriend 
And speak for ^ou. Of a Power aboye you still 
Whoch, utterly incomprehensible. 
Is out of rivalry, which thus you can 

Love, though nnloying all oonceiyed 
by man — 

What need t And of — none the 
minutest duct 
To that ont-natnre, naught that would instruct 
And so lei riyaliy begin to live — 
But of a Power its reinresentatiye 
Who, bemg for authority the same, 
Comnnuneation di£Ferent, should claim 
A ooorse, the first chose but this last revealed — 
This Human dear, as that Divine concealed — 
What utter need I 

What has Sordello found ? 
Or can hn qnrit go the mighty round, , 

£m1 where poor £glamor begun ? So, says 
Old fable, toe two eagles went two ways 
About the world : where, in the midst, they met, 
Though on a shifting waste of sand, men set 
Jove's tem^e. Quick, what has Sordello found ? 

For they approach — approach — that 
Bordello foot's re Dound 

^■Bw»: Palma ? Ko, Salinguerra though in 

mail ; 
They Dkonmt] have reached the threshold, dash 

the veil 
Aside — and you divine who sat there dead, 
Usder his foot the badge : still, Palma ^d, 
A t riumn h lingering in the wide eyes, 
Widertnaa some spent swimmer's if he spies 
Hdp from above in his extreme despair. 



tove? 



by 



And, head far back on shoulder thrust, turns 

there 
With short quick passionate cry: as Palma 

pressed 
In one great kiss, her lips upon his breast. 
It beat. 

B^ this, the hermit-bee has stopped 
His dasr's toil at Goito : the new-cropped 
Dead vine-leaf answers, now 't is eve, he bit, 
Twirled so, and filed all day : the mansion 's fit, 
God counselled for.^ As easy gfuess the word 
That passed betwixt them, and become the 

• third 
To the soft small unfrighted bee, as tax 
Him with one fault — so, no remembrance 

racks 
But too Of the stone maidens and the font of 
insect stone 

knows B^t creeping through the crevice, 

sooner. leaves alone. 

Alas, my friend, alas Sordello, whom 
Anon they laid within that old f ontrtomo. 
And, yet again, alas \ 

And now is 't worth 
Our while bring back to mind, much less set 

forth 
How Salinguerra extricates himself 
Without Sordello ? Ghibellin and Guelf 
fiiay %ht their fiercest out? If Richard 

sulked 
In durance or the Marquis paid his mulct. 
Who cares^Sordello gone ? The upshot, sure. 
On his die- Was peace; our chief made some 
appear- frank overture 

anoe from That prospered ; compliment fell 
tbe Btage, thick and fast 
On its disposer, and Taurello passed 
With foe and &iend for an outstripping soul. 
Nine days at least. Then, — fairly reached the 

goal,— 
He, by one effort, blotted the great hope 
Out of his mind, nor further tried to cope 
With Este, that mad evening's style, but sent 
Awav the Legate and the League, content 
No blame at least the brothers had incurred, 
— IMspatched a message to the Monk, he heard 
Patiently first to last, scarce shivered at. 
Then curled his limbs up on his wolfskin mat 
And ne'er spoke more, — informed the Fer- 

rarese 
He but retained their rule so long as these 
Lingered in pupilage, —and last, no mode 
Apparent else of keeping safe the road 
From Germany direct to Lombardy 
For Friedrich, — none, that is, to guarantee 
The faith and promptitude of who should next 
Obtain Sofia's dowry, — sore perplexed — 
(Sofia being youngest of the tribe 
The next Of daughters, Ecelin was wont to 
aspinmt bribe 

canpress The envious magnates with — nor, 
forward ; gince he sent 

Henry of Egna this fair child, had Trent 
Once failed the Kaiser's purposes — ** we lost 
Egna last year, and who takes Egna's post — 
Opens the Lombard gate if Friednch knock ? ") 
Himself espoused the Lady of the Rook 
In pure necessity, and, so destroyed 



126 



SORDELLO 



His slender last of chanoeB, qmte made Yoid 
Old prophecy, and spite of all ihe schemes 
Overt and covert^outh's deeds, age's dreams, 
Was sucked into Konuuio. And so hushed 
He up this CTening's work, that, when 't was 

brushed 
Somehow against by a blind chronicle 
Which, chronidii^ whatever woe befell 
Ferrarl^ noted this the obscure woe 
Of **Saunguerra^s sole son Giacomo 
Deceased, fatuous and dotinp:, ere his sire," 
The townsfolk rubbed their eyes, could but 

admire 
Which of Sofia's five was meant. 

The chaps 
Of earth's dead hope were tardy to collapse, 
Obliterated not the beautiful 
Distinctive features at a crash : but dull 
And duller these, next yesur: as Ghielf s withdrew 
Each to his stronghold. Then (securely too 
Ecelin at Gampese slept \ close by. 
Who likes may see him m Solagna lie, 
With cushioned head and gloved hand to denote 
The cavalier he was) — then his heart smote 
Young Ecelin at last : long since adult. 
And, save Vicenza's ousiness, what result 
In blood and blaze ? (So hard to intercept 
Sordello till his i»lain withdrawal !) Stepped 
Salin. Then its new lord on Lombardy. I' 

gnem'a the nick 

part laps- Of time when Ecelin and Alberic 
^^ Closed with Taurello, come pre- 
**•""» dsely news 

That in Verona naif the souls refuse 
Allegiance to the Marquis and the Ck>unt — 
Have cast them from a throne they Hd him 

moimt, 
Their Podestjt, through his ancestral worth. 
Ecelin flew there, and the town henceforth 
Was wholly his — Taurello sinking back 
Vmm. temporary station to a track 
That suited. ISews received of this aoquist, 
Friedrich did come to Lombardy : who missed 
Taurello then ? Another year : they took 
Vicenza, left the Marquis scarce a nook 
For refuge, and, when hundreds two or three 
Of Quells conspired to call themselves **The 

Free," 
Opposing Alberic, — vile Bassanese, — 
(Without Sordello !) — Ecelin at ease 
slaughtered them so observablv, that oft 
A little Salinguerra looked witn soft 
Blue eyes up, asked his sire the proper age 
To get appomted his proud uncle's page. 
More years passed, and that sire had dwindled 

down 
To a mere showy turbulent soldier j grown 
Better through age, his parts still m repute. 
Subtle — how else ? — but hardly so astute 
As his contemporaneous friends professed ; 
Undoubtedly a brawler : for the rest. 
Known by each neighbor, and allowed for, let 
Keep his mcorrigible wa]rB, nor fret 
Men who would miss their boyhood's bugbear : 

"trap 
The ostrich, suffer our bald osprey flap 
A battered pinion I " — was the word. In fine. 
One flap too much and Venice's marine 



Was meddled with ; no overlooking that I 
She captured him in his Ferrara, fat 
And florid at a banquet, more by fraud 
Than force, to speak the truth ; there 's slander 

laud 
Ascribed jou for assisting eighty years 
To pull his death on such a man ; fate shears 
The life-cord prompt enough whose last fine 

thread 
Tou fritter : so, presiding his board-head. 
The old smile, your assurance all went well 
With Friedrich (as if he were like to tell I) 
In rushed (a plan contrived before) our friends, 
Made some pretence at fighting, some amends 
For the shame done his eighty years — (apart 
The princinle, none found it in his heart 
To be mucn an^irv with Taurello) — gained 
Their galleys with the prize, and what remained 
But carry him to Venice for a show ? 
— Set him, as 't were, down gently — free to go 
His gait, inspect our square, pretend observe 
The swallows soaring their eternal curve 
'Twixt Theodore and Mark, if citizens 
Gathered importunately, fives and tens. 
To point their children the Magnifico, 
Who, with All but a monarch once in finn-land, 
hia go 

brother. His gait among them now — **it 
played It took, indeed, 

^^ Fully this Ecelin to supermde 

That man," remarked the seniors. Singular I 
Sordello's inability to bar 
Rivals the stage, that evening, mainly brought 
About by his stnmge disbelief that aught 
Was ever to be done, — this thrust the Twain 
Under Taurello's tutelage, — whom, brain 
And heart and hand, he forthwith in one rod 
Indissolubly bound to baffle God 
Who loves the world — and thus allowed tlie 

thin 
Grav wizened dwarfish devil Ecelin, 
Ana massy-muscled big^boned Alberic 
^ere man, alas I) to put his problem quick 
To demonstration — prove wherever 's will 
To do, there 's plenty to be done, or ill 
Or good. Anomted, then, to rend and rip — 
Kings of the gag and flesh-hook, screw 

whip. 
They pUigued the world : a touch of Hilde- 

brand 
(So far from obsolete I) made Lombards band 
Together, cross their coats as for Christ's 
And saving Milan win the world's applause. 
Ecelin perished : and I think grass grew 
Never so pleasant as in VaUey Rtk 
And went By San Zenon where Alberic in tnn& 
home duly Saw his exasperated ciwtors bum 
to their Seven ohildrai and their mother; 
reward. then, re^ed 

So far, tied on to a wild horse, was trailed 
To death through raunoe and bramble-baah. X 

take 
God's part and testify that 'mid the brake 
Wild o'er his castie on the pleasant knoll. 
You hear its one tower left, a belfry, t^ — 
The earthquake spared it last year, Luang fla4 
The modem church beneath, — no naim in 

that! 




SORDELLO 



127 



OhlmipB the oontamacioiis graashopiMr, 
Rustles the lixaid and the cushats ohirre 
AboTe the ravage : there, at deep of day 
A week sinee. heard I the old Canon say 
He saw with nis own eyes a barrow burst 
And Alberie's huge skeleton unhearsed 
Only &ve rears ago.^ He added. " June 's 
The month for carding off our nist cocoons 
The silkworms fabricate " — a double news, 
Nor he nor I could tell the worthier. Choose ! 
And Naddo gone, all 's gone ; not Eglamor ! 
Belieye^ I knew the face I waited for, 
A guest my spirit of the golden courts I 
Oh strange to see how, despite Hi-reports, 
DiBoae, some wear of years, that faioe retained 
Its joyous look of love! Suns waxed and 

waned. 
And still mj spirit held an upward flight, 
Sniral on spiral, gyres of life and light 
Moie and more gorgeous — ever that face there 
Hie last admitted I crossed, too, with some care 
As perfect triumph were not sure for alL 
Good wfll But. on a few, enduring damp must 
-miDck, fall, 

fBt aaoood — A transient struggle, haply a pain- 
priae: fnl sense 

Of the inferior nature's clinging — whence 
Slight starting tears easilv wiped away. 
Fine jealousies soon stifled in the play 
Of irrepresnUe admiration — not 
Ayiriiig, all considered, to their lot 
Who cTer, ^ust as they prepare ascend 
Smzal on s|^ral, wish thee well, impend 
lliy frank delight at their exclusive track. 
That iq>tumed fervid face and hair put back I 

Is there no more to say ? He of the rhymes — 
Many a tale, of this retreat betimes. 
Was bom : Sordello die at once for men ? 
The Chroniclers of Mantua tired their pen 
Telling how Sordello Prince Viseonti saved 
llantna, and elsewhere notably behaved — 
Who thus, by fortune ordering events, 
TSiwrd with posterity, to all intents. 
For inst the god he never could become. 
As &n^ht« Bard, Gallant, men were never 

dmnh 
In psaiae of him : while what he should have 

been, 
Conld be, and vras not — the one step too mean 
For him to take, — we suffer at this day 
fiecaose of : Eoelin had pushed away 
Its ehanee ere Dante could arrive and take 

s That step Sordello spumed, for the 
may I world's sake : 

He did much — but Sordellor's chance 
wasgone. 

ThniL had Sordello dared that step alone, 
ApoUo had been oompaaBed — 'twas a fit 



He widied should go to him, not he to it 

— As one content to merely be supposed 

Singing or fighting elsewhere, while he dozed 

Really at home — one who was chiefl v glad 

To have achieved the few real deeds ne had. 

Because that way assured they were not worth 

Doing, so spared from dcnng them henceforlli — 

A trM Ihat covets fruitage and yet tastes 

Never itself, itself. Had he embraced 

Their caiue then, men had plucked Hesperian 

fruit 

And, praising that, just thrown him in to boot 

AJl he was anxious to appear, but scarce 

Solicitous to be. A sorry farce 

Such life is, after all I Cannot I say 

TbiB— that He lived for some one better thing ? 

most pei^ tiiis wav. — 

force oon- Lo, on a heathy brown and nameless 
tent him, ]^ 

By sfkarkling Asolo^ in mist and chill, 

Mormng just up, higher and higher runs 

A child barefoot ana rosy. See I the sun 's 

On the square castle's iimexHsonrt's low wall 

Like the chine of some extinct *»'™<^1 

Half turned to earth and flowers ; and through 

the base 
(Save where some slender patches of gray 

maize 
Are to be overleaped) that boy has crossed 
The whole hill-side of dew and powdeivfrost 
Matting the balm and mountain camomile. 
Up and up goes he, singing all the while 
Some unintelligible words to beat 
The lark, God s poet, swooning at his feet, 
So worsted is he at ** the few fine looks 
Stained like pale honey oozed from topmost 

rocks 
Sun-blanched the livelong summer, " — aU that 's 

left 
Of the Gk>ito lay I And thus bereft. 
Sleep and forget, Sordello I In effect 
He ueepe, the feverish poet — I suspect 
Aanopriie Not utterly oomiMUiionless ; but, 
at sU, has friends, 

contented Wake up I The ghost 's gone, and 
me. the stoiT ends^ 

I 'd fain hope, sweetly; seeing, peri or ghoul. 
That spirits are conjectured fair or foul. 
Evil or good, judicious authors think. 
According as they vanish in a stink 
Or in a perfume. Friends, be frank ! ye snuff 
Civet, I warrant. Really ? Like enough ! 
Merely the savor's rareneas ; any nose 
fiiav ravage with impunity a rose : ^ 
Rine a musk-pod and 't ml ache like yours I 
I 'd tell you that same pungency ensures 
An after-eust, but that were overbold. 
Who would has heard SordeUo's story told. 



128 



PIPPA PASSES 



PIPPA PASSES 



A DRAMA 




ScrdeUo did not pioye oommeiciaUy sno- 
ceflsfnl, and Browning was reluctant to go on 
publishing his poetry at his father's exi>ense. 
^* Qne day," Mr. Qceae says, ^^as the poet was 
disouflsing the matter with Mr. Edward Moxon, 
the publisher, the latter remarked that at that 
time he was bringing out some editions of the 
old Elizabethan dramatists in a comparatiyely 
cheap form, and that if Mr. Browning would 
consent to print his poems as pamphlets, using 
this cheap type, the expense would be very in- 
considerable. " Browning accepted the sugges- 
tion at once and began the issue of a cheap se- 
f pamphlets, each sixteen ootayo pages in 
double column, printed on poor paper and sold 
first for a sixpence each, the price afterward be- 
ing raised to a shilling and then to half a crown. 
The series consisted of eight numbers under the 
general fanciful title Bells and PomegrancUes, 
Apparently the passage in Exodus xxviii. 33, 
** And beneath upon the hem of it [the priest's 
robe] thou shalt make pomegranates of blue, 
and of purple, and of scarlet, 'I'ound about the 
hem thereof ; and bells of gold between them 
round about,*' suggested the title, but as all 
sorts of speculations sprang up about its sig- 
nificance, Browning appended the following 
note to the eighth and final number of the 
series: — 

** Here ends my first series of Bells and Pome- 
granates^ and I take the opportunity of explfun- 
ing, in reply to inquiries, that I only meant by 
that title to indicate an endeavor towards some- 
thing like an alteration, or mixture, of music 
with discoursing, sound with sense, poetry with 
thought ; which looks too ambitious, thus ex- 
pressed, so the symbol was preferred. It is 
little to the purpose, that such is actually one of 
the most familiar of the many Rabbinical (and 
Patristic) acceptations of the phrase ; because I 
confess that, letting authority alone, I suppose 
the bare words, in such juxtaposition, would 
sufficiently convey the desired meaning. * Faith 



and good works ' is another fancy, for instance, 
and perhaps no easier to arrive at ; yet Giotto 
placed a pomegranate fruit in the hand of Dante, 
and Raffaello crowned his Theology (in the 
Camera della Segnatwra) with blossoms of ^e 
same ; as if the Bellari and Yasari would be 
sure to come after, and explain that it was 
merely * simJbolo delle bttone opere — 17 qual Pomo- 
granato fu perb usato neUe veste dd Pont^ce 
appresso gli Ebrei,^ 

" R. B." 

The first number of Bells and PomegranaUi 
contained Pippa Passes, It was published in 
1841 and was introduced by the following dedi- 
catory preface : — 

ADVERTISEMENT 

Two or three years ago I wrote a Play, abont 
which the chief matter I much care to reoolleet 
at present is, that a Pitfull of good-natured 
people applauded it : ever since, I have been 
desirous of doing something in the same way 
that should better reward their attention. 
What follows, I mean for the first of a series of 
Dramatical Pieces, to come out at intervals; 
and I amuse mjrself by fancying that the cheap 
mode in which they appear, will for once help 
me to a sort of Pit-audience again. Of coune 
such a work must go on no longer than it \s 
liked ; and to provide against a too certain and 
but too possible contingency, let me hasten to asj 
now — whaty if I were sure of success, I would 
try to say circumstantially enough at the dose 
— that I dedicate my best intentions most ad- 
miringly to the Author of Ion — most affection- 
ately to Sergeant Talfourd. 

RoBEBT Browning. 

The phrases in the closing sentence were af- 
terward used by Brovming as a dedication when 
he discarded the advertisement in the colleetive 
editions of his poems. 



PffSUU^ 



PERSONS 




■"oreign Stodents. 

OOTTUXB. 
SCHBAMM. 




Police. 
Bluibocu. 
Xinai and Idf mother. 
PoorGMI." 
MoHsioNOB and hia attendants. 



PIPPA PASSES 



129 



INTRODUCTION 

New Year's Day at Asolo in the Tkbvisan 

A large mean airy chamber. A girl, FnT£, from the 
tHi-mills, sprvngihg out of bed. 

Day! 

Faster and more fast. 
O'er night's brim, day boils at last : 
BoQb, pure g5>id, o'er the doad-cnp's brim 
Where spnrtiiig: and suppressed it lay, 
For not a froth^flake touched the rim 
Of yonder gap in the solid gray 
Of the eastern eloud, an' hour away ; 
Bat forth one wavelet, then another, curled, 
TiU the whole sunrise, not to be suppressed, 
Rose, reddened, and its seething breast 
Flickered in bounds, grew gold, then overflowed 
the world. 

Oh Day, if I squander a wavelet of thee, 

A mite of my twelve-hours' treasure. 

The least of thy gazes or glances, 

(Be they grants thou art lx>und to or gifts above 

meaaore) 
One of thy choices oV one of thy chances, 
(Be th^ tasks God imposed thee or freaks at 

Uiy pleasure) 
—My Day, if I squander such labor or leisure. 
Then shame fall on Asolo, misohief on me ! 

Thy long bine solemn hours serenelv flowing. 
Whence earth, we feel, gets steady help and 

good — 
Hiy fitful sunahine-minntes, coming, going. 
Am if earth turned from work in gamesome 

mood — 
AH shall be mine ! But thou must treat me not 
As prasraerous onee are treated, those who live 
At nana here, and enjoy the higher lot, 
la readiness to take what thou wilt give. 
And free to let alone what thou refusest ; 
For, Day, my holiday, if thou ill-usest 
Me, who am only Pipjpa, — old-yearns sorrow, 
Cast off last night, wul come a&an to-morrow : 
Wh e r eas , if thou prove gentle, I shall borrow 
Sufficient strength of thee for new-year's sorrow. 
AH other men and women that this earth 
Belongs to, who all days alike possess, 
Make goieral plenty cure particular dearth, 
Qet more joy one wav, if another, less : 
Thou art my single oay, God lends to leaven 
What were all earth else, with a feel of 

heaven, — 
^xlle light that helps me through the year, thy 

son's! 
Try now ! Take Asolo's Four Happiest Ones — 
Aikd let thy morning rain on that superb 
Great hannity Ottima ; can rain disturb 
Her Sebald'a homage ? All the while thy rain 
Boats fiercest on her shrub-house window-pane 
He vin but press the closer, breathe more warm 
AgaJnst her oheek ; how should she mind the 

stonn? 
AjbnI, moming past, if mid-day shed a gloom 
O'er Joks and Phene, — what care bride and 

groom 



Save for their dear selves? 'Tis their mar- 
riage-day: 
And while they leave church and go home their 

way. 
Hand clasping hand, within each breast would be 
Sunbeams and pleasant weather spite of thee. 
Then, for another trial, obscure thy eve 
With mist, — will Luigi and his motiber grieve — 
•The lady and her childj unmatched, forsooth. 
She in her age, as Lmgi in his youth. 
For true content ? Tne cheerful town, warm, 

close 
And safe, the sooner that thou art morose, 
Receives them. And yet once again, outbreak 
In storm at night on Mons^or, they maJLC 
Such stir about, — whom they expect from 

Rome 
To visit Asolo, his brothers' home. 
And say here masses proper to release 
A soul from pain, — what storm dares hurt his 

peace r 
Calm would he pray, with his own thoughts to 

ward 
Thy thunder off, nor want the angels' guard. 
But Pipiia — just one such mischance would 

spoil 
Her day that lightens the next twelvemonth's 

toil 
At wearisome silk-winding, coil on coil ! 

And here I let time slip tor naught 1 
Aha, you foolhardy sunoeam, cau^t 
With a single splash from my ewer I 
You that woula mock the best pursuer. 
Was my basin oveinieep ? 
One splash of water ruins you asleep. 
And up, up, fleet your brilliant bits 
Wheelii^ and cpunterwheeling. 
Reeling, broken beyond healii^ : 
Now grow together on the oeihng I 
That will task your wits. 

Whoever it was quenched fire first, hoped to see 
Morsel after morsel flee 
As merrily, as giddily ... 
Meantime, what lights my sunbeam on, . 
Where settles bv degrees the radiant cripple ? 
Oh, is it surely blown, my martagon ? 
New-blown and ruddy as St. Agnes' nipple. 
Plump as the flesh-bunch on some Turk bird's 

poU! 
Be sure if corals, branching^ 'neath the ripple 
Of ocean, bud there, — fairies watch unroU 
Such turban-flowers ; I say, such lamps disperse 
Thick red flame through that dusk green uni- 
verse ! 
I am queen of thee, floweret I 
And each fleshy blossom 
Preserve I not — (safer 
Than leaves that embower it. 
Or shells that embosom) 

— From weevil and chafer ? 

Laugh through my pane then ; solicit the bee ) 
Gibe him, be sure ; and, in midst of thy glee. 
Love thy queen, worship me ! 

— Worship whom else ? For am I not, this day, 
Whate'er 1 please ? What shall I please to-day ? 
My mom, noon, eve and night — now spend my 

day? 



I30 



PIPPA PASSES 



To-moxTow I must be Pippa who winds silk, 
The whole year ronnd, to earn just bread and 
milk: 
I Bnt, this one day, I have leave to go, 
I And play ont my fancy's fullest eames ; 
■ I may f anoy all day — and it shall be so — 
That I taste of the pleasures, am called by the 

names 
Of the Hapinest Four in our Asolo ! • 

See ! Up the hiUside yonder, through the mom- 

Some one shall love me, as the world calls love : 
I am no leas than Ottiina, take warning I 
The gardens, and the great stone house above, 
And other house for shrubs, all glass in front. 
Are mine ; where Sebald steals, as he is wont. 
To court me, while old Luca yet reposes: 
And therefore, till the shrub-house door un- 
closes, 
I . . . what now? — give abundant cause for 

prate 
About me — Ottima, I mean — of late, 
Too bold, too confident she 'U still face down 
The spitcauUest of talkers in our town. 
How we talk in the little town below I 
But love, love, love — tibere's better love, I 
know! 
This foolish love was only day's first offer ; 
I choose my next love to def^ the scoffer : 
For do not our Bride and Bridegroom sally 
Out of "PoBsagno church at noon ? 
Their house looks over Orcana valley : 
Why should not I be the bride as soon 
As Ottima ? For I saw, beside. 
Arrive last night that little bride — 
Saw, if you call it seeing her, one flash 
Of the pale snow-pure cheek and black bright 



Blacker than all except the black eyelash ; 

I wonder she contrives those lids no dresses ! 

— So strict was she. the veil 

Should cover dose ner pale 

Pure cheeks — a bride to look at and scarce 

touch. 
Scarce touch, remember, Jules ! For are not such 
Used to be tended, flower-like, every feature. 
As if one's breath would fray the lily of a 

creature? 
A soft and easy life these ladies lead : 
Whiteneas in us were wonderful indeed. 
Oh, save that brow its vii^fin dimness. 
Keep that foot its lady primness. 
Let those ankles never swerve 
From their exquisite reserve. 
Yet have to tnp along Uie streets like me. 
All but naked to the knee ! 
How will she ever grant her Jules a bliss 
So startling as her real first infant kiss ? 
Oh, no — not envy, this ! 

— Not envy, sure I — for if you gave me 

Leave to take or to refuse. 

In earnest, do you think I 'd choose 

That sort of new love to enslave me ? 

Mine should have lapped me round from the 

beginning; 
As little fear of losing it as winning : 



Liovers grow cold, men leam to hate their wives, 
JAjid onlv parents' love can last our lives. 
At eve the Son and Mother, gentle pair. 
Commune inside our turret : what prevents 
Mv being Luigi ? While Ihat mossy lair 
Of lizaroB through the winter-time is stirred 
With each to eaJoh imparting: sweet intents 
For this new-year, as broodmg bird to bird — 
(For I observe of late, the evening walk 
Of Luigi and his mother, always ends 
Liside our ruined turret, where they talk. 
Calmer than lovers, yet more kind thanfnends) 
— Let me be cared about, kept out orhann. 
And schemed for, safe in love as with a chaurm; 
Let me be Luigi I If lonly knew 
What was my mother's face — my father, too ! 

Kay, if you come to that, best love of all 
Is God's ; then why not have God's love be- 

ftdl 
Myself as, in the palace by the Dome, 
Monsignor ? — who to-night will bless the home 
Of his dead brother ; and God bless in turn 
That heart which beats, those eyes wrbich 

mildly bum 
With love for all men ! I, to-night at least. 
Would be that holy and beloved priest. 

Now wait I — even I already seem to share 

In God's love : what does New-year's hymn 

declare? 
What other meaning do these verses bear ? 

* AU service ranks the same with God : 

• Xf now^ as formerly he trod 
Paradise^ his presence JUls 
Our earthy each only as God wiUs 

Can work — God^s puppets^ best and worsts 
Are we ; there is no last norjvrst. 

Say not ''a small event I " Why ''small'' f 
Costs it more pain that this, ye call 
A " great evetUJ*'' should come to pass^ 
Than that f Untwine me/rom the mass 
Gf deeds which make up life., one deed 
Power shall fall short in or exceed ! 

And more of it, and more of it ! — oh yee — 

I will pass each, and see their lu^piness. 

And envy none — being just as great, no doabtt 

Useful to men, and dear to God, as they ! 

A pretty thinf to care about 

So mightily, this single holiday ! 

But let the sun shine ! Wherefore re^pine ? 

— With thee to lead me, O IHty of mine, 

Down the grass path gray witib dew. 

Under the pine-wood, blind with boughs. 

Where the swallow never flew 

Nor yet cicala dared carouse — 

No, dared carouse I {She enters the wftttuf 

I. MORNING 

Up the HiUtide, inside the ShrttMkouse, Luoa's Wif^ 
Ottimx, and her Paramour, the Oerman ««»*f.m 

Sebald, [sings.] Let the watching lids wink T 

Day's ablaze wtth eyes^ dkinJt 1 
Deep into the night, drtnk ! 



PIPPA PASSES 



131 



I 



Otttmo. Nifht ? Such may be your Rhine- 

lud ni^tB, perfaaps ; 
But dus blooa-i«d beam through the shutter *8 

ehink 
— We eall such light, the momine: let us see I 
Bfind how yon grope your way, though I How 

these tall 
Naked geraniums straggle ! Push the lattice 
Belmid that frame!— liay, do I bid you? — 

Sebald, 
It shakes the dust down on me I Why, of 

course 
The slidfr-bolt catches. Well, are you content, 
Or must I find yon somethiiur else to spoil ? 
Eifls and be friends, my Sebaldl Is't full 

morning ? 
Oh, don't speak then I 

Seb. Ay, thus it used to be I 

Erer your house was, I remember, shut 
im mid-day ; I obserred that, as I strolled 
On mornings through the vale here; country 

girls 
Were noisy, washing garments in the brook, 
Hiads droYC the slow white oxen up the hills : 
But no, your house was mute, would ope no eye ! 



And wisely : you were plotting one thing there, 
Natore, another onteide. I looked up — 
Boog^ white wood shutters, rusty iron bars, 
Silettt as death, blind in a flood of light. 
Ofa, I remember I — and the peasants laughed 
And said, ^* The old man sleeps with the young 

wtfe." 
^ns house was his, this chair, this window — 
his. 
Ocft. Ah, the clear morning ! IcanseeSaint 
Mark's; 
That Uack streak is the belfry. Stop : Vicenza 
Shmild lie . . . there's Padua, plam enough, 

that blue I 
Look o'er my shoulder, follow my finger I 

Seb. , Jttoming? 

It seems to me a night with a sun added. 
Where 'sde'w^ where 's freshness? That bruised 

Iilant, I bruised 
In getting through the lattice yestereve. 
Droops as it did. See, here 's my elbow^s mark 
r the dust o' the sill. 
Otti. Oh, shut the lattice, pray ! 

Sdt. Let me lean out. I cannot scent blood 
here. 
Fool SB the mom may be. 

There, shut the world out I 
How do Toa feel now, Ottima ? There, curae 
Hie wond and all outside ! Let us throw o£P 
This mask : how do you bear yourself ? Let 's 

out 
WiihallofitI 
Otti. Best nerer n>eak of it. 

Seb. Best speak again ana yet again of i^ 
Tin words oease to be more than words. ** His 

blood," 
For instance — let those two wordsmean, "His 

blood" 
And m«M«<"g more. Notice, I '11 say them now, 
"* & blood." 

Oui. Assuredly if I repented 

IWdeed — 
Seb. Bepent ? Who should repent, or why ? 



What puts that in your head ? Did I once say 
That! repented? 

Otti, Ko ; I said the deed . . . 

Seb. *'The deed" and ''the event" — just 
now it was 
"Our passion's fruit" — the devil take such 

cant! 
Say, once and always, Luca was a wittol, 
I am his cutrthroat, you are . . . 

Otti. Here 's the wine ; 

I brought it when we left the house above. 
And ghisBes too — wine of both sorts. Black ? 
White then? 

^e6. But am not I his cutrthroat? What 
areyou? 

Otti. There trudges on his business from the 
Tmomo" ■ ■ . t w.-.—,^ — - -. ^ %►. . ^ 

Benet the Capuchin, with his brown hood 
Andbsraftet; a lways in o ne pl n e e-at church, 
Close under the stone wall by the south entry. 
I used to take him for a brown cold ineoe 
Of the wallas self, as out of it he rose 
To let me pass — at first, I say. I used : 
Now. so has that dumb figure lastened on me, 
I rather should account the plastered wall 
A piece of him, so chilly does it strike. 
Tl5s.Sebald? 

Seb. No, the white wine — the white wine I 
WeU. Ottima, I promised no new year 
Should rise on us the ancient shameful way ; 
Nor does it rise. Pour on! To your black 



eyes 



Doyou remember last damned New Year's d^? 

Otti. Tou brought those foreign prints. We 
looked at them 
Over the wine and fruit. I had to scheme 
To get him from the fire. Nothing but saying 
His own set wants ^e proof-mark, roused him 

up 
To hunt them out. 

Seb. 'Faith, he is not alive 

To fondle yon before my face. 

Otti. Do you 

Fondle me then I Who means to take your life 
For that, my Sebald ? 

Seb. Hark you, Ottima ! 

One thing to guard against. We '11 not make 

much 
One of the other — that is, not make moro 
Parade of warmth, childish officious coiL 
Than yesterday : as if, sweet. I supposed 
Proof upon proof were needed now, now first. 
To show I love you — yes, still love you — love 

you 
In sinte of Lnca and what 's come to him 
— Sure agn we had him ever in our thoughts. 
White sneering old reproachful face and all ! 
We 'U even quarr^ love, at times, as if 
We still could lose each other, were not tied 
By this : conceive you ? 

Otti. Love ! 

Seb. Not tied so sure ! 

Because though I was wrought upon, have 

struck 
Hjs insolence back into him — am I 
So surely y-wrUrs ? — therefore forever yours ? 

Otti. Love, to be wise, (one counsel pays 
another,) 



132 



PIPPA PASSES 



Should we have — months ago, when first we 

loved, 
For instance that May morning we two stole 
Under the green ascent of sycamores — 
If we had come upon a thing like that 
Suddenly . . . 
Seb, **A thing"— there again—" aihing!" 
Otti. Then, venus^ body, nadwe come upon 
M^ husband Luca Graddi's murdered corpse 
Within there, at his couch-foot, covered dose — 
Would you have pored upon it ? Why persist 
In poring now upon it ? For 'tis here 
As much as there in the deserted house : 
Ton cannot rid your eyes of it. For me, 
Now he is dead I hate him worse : I hate . . . 
Dare you stay here ? I would go back and hold 
His two dead hands, and say, *^ I hate you worse, 
Luca, than'* ... 

S^. Off, off —take your lumds off mine, 
'T is the hot evening — off ! oh, morning is it ? 
Oui. There 's one thing must be done ; you 
know what thing. 
Come in and help to carry. We may sleep 
Anvwhere in the whole wide house to-ni^ht. 
beb. What would come, think you, if we let 
him lie 
Just as he is ? Let him lie there until 
Tlie angels take him I He Lb turned by this 
Off from his face beside, as ^ou will see. 

Out, This dusty pane might serve for look- 
ing-glass. 
Three, four — four gray hairs I Is it so you said 
A plait of hair should wave across my neck ? 
No — this way. 

Seb. Ottima, I would give your neck. 

Each splendid shoulder, both tnoee breasts of 

yours, 
That this were undone ! Killing ! Kill the 

world. 
So Luca lives again ! — ay, lives to sputter 
BSs fulsome dotage on you — yes, and feign 
Surprise that I return at eve to sup. 
When all the morning I was loitering here — 
Bid me dispatch my business and begone. 
I would . . . 
Otti. See I 

Seb, No, I '11 finish. Do you think 

I fear to speak the bare truth once for all ? 
* All we have talked of, is, at bottom, fine 
j To suffer ; there 's a recompense in guilt ; 

One must be venturous and fortunate : 
; What is one voung for, else ? In age we '11 sigh 
' O'er the wild reckless wicked days flown over ; 
I Still, we have lived : the vice was in its place, 
j But to have eaten Luca's bread, have worn 
I His clothes, have felt his money sweU my 
purse — 
Do lovers in romances sin that way ? 
Why, I was starving when I used to call 
Ana teach vou music, starving while you 

plucked me 
These flowers to smell I 

Otti. My poor lost friend ! 

Seb, ^ He gave me 

Life, nothing less : what if he did reproach 
My perfidy, and threaten, and do more — 
Haa he no right ? What was to wonder at ? 
He sat by us at table quietly : 



Why must you lean across till our cheeks 

touched? 
Could he do less than make pretence to strike ? 
'Tis not the crime's sake — I'd commit ten 

crimes 
Ghreater, to have this crime wiped out, undone I 
And you — O how feel you ? Feel you for me ? 
Otti. Well then, I love you better now than 

ever. 
And best (look at me while I speak to you) — 
Best for the crime ; nor do I grieve, in truth. 
This mask, this simulated ignorance, 
This affectation of simplicity. 
Falls off our crime ; this naked crime of ours 
May not now be looked over : look it down ! 
Grreat ? let it be great ; but the joys it brought. 
Pay they or no its price ? Come : they or it I 
Speak not ! The past, would you give up the 

I Such as it is, pleasure and crime together? 
1 Give up that noon I owned my love for you ? 
\ The garden's silence : even the single bee 
\ Persisting in his toil, suddenly stopped^ 
lAnd where he hid you only could surmise 
By some camjMmula chalice set a-swing. 
Who stammered — ** Yes, I love you ? " 

Seb. And I drew 

Back ; put far back your face with bottiaiy hands 
Lest you should grow too full of m^— your face 
So seemed athirst for my whole soul and body I 
Otti, And when I ventured to receive you 
here. 
Made you steal hither in the mornings — 

Seb. When 

I used to look up 'neath the shrub-house here. 
Till the red fire on its glazed windows spread 
To a yellow haze ? 

Out, Ah — my sign was, the son 

Inflamed the sere side of yon chestnut-ti^e 
Nipped by the first frost. 

Beb, You would always laugh 

At my wet boots : I had to stride through grass 
Over my ankles. 
Otti. Then our crovniing night ! 

Seb, The July night ? 

Otti, ^ The day of it too, Sebald 1 

When heaven's pillars seemed o'erbowed witih 

heat. 
Its black-blue canopy suffered descend 
Close on us both, to weigh down each to each. 
And smother up all life except our life. 
So lav we till the storm came. 

Seb, How it came ! 

Oui. Buried in woods we lay, you recolleot ; 
iSwift ran the searching tempest overhead ; 
i And ever and anon some bright white shaft 
Burned through the pine-tree roof, here burned 

and there, 
As if God's messenger through the close w<Mid 

screen 
Plunged and replunged his weapon at a venture^ 
Feeling for guilty thee and me : then broke 

rie thunder like a whole sea overhead — 
Seb, Yes! 
Otti, — While I stretched myself upon you* 
hands 
To hands, my mouth to your hot mouth, and 
shook 



PIPPA PASSES 



133 



An my looks loose, and oovered you with 

tiiem — 
Toil, Sebald, the same you ! 

Seb. Slower, Otdma ! 

Otti. And as we lay — 

Seb, Leas vehemently ! Love me I 

FoigxTe me I Take not wordsi mere words, to 

heart I 
Your breath is worse than wine. Breathe slow, 

sneak slow I 
Do not lean on me ! 

Otti. Sebald, as we lay, 

Ririi^ and fallinsr onlv with our pants. 
Who said, ** Let deatn oome now ! 'T is right 

to die! 
Right to be punished ! Naught completes such 

bliss 
Bntwoel'' Whosaidthat? 

Seb. How did we ever rise ? 

Was't that we slept? Why did it end ? 

Otti. I felt you 

Taper into a point the rufBed ends 
Of my loose locks 'twizt both your humid lips. 
My hadr is fallen now : knot it again I 

Seb. I kiss you now, dear Ottima, now and 
now! 
This way.?. _ Will you forgive me — be once 

more 
My great queen ? 

Oiti. Bind it thrice^ about m^ brpw ; 

Crown me your ^ueen, your spirit^s arbitrees, 
MMiifioent in sin. Say that I 

aeb, I crown yon 

My great white queen, my spirit^s arbitress, 
Msgfiifjoent . . . 

IFirom vrithmU U heard the voice of Pippa Hnging — 

The year '« at ike spring 
And day ^ sat the morn ; 
Momina J« at seven ; 
The hillside ^s dew-j^arled ; 
The lark *« on the wing; 
The snail ^son Ute thorn : 
God '» in his heaven — 
Jttt*s right with the world ! 

IPmx passes, 

Se6. God 's in his heaven I Do you hear 
that ? Who spoke ? 
Yoo, yon spoke ! 

Otti. Oh — that little ragged girl I 

She must have rested on the step: we give 

But this one holiday the whole year round. 
Did yon ever see our silk-mills — their inside ? 
There are ten silk-mills now belong to you. 
She stoops to pick my double heartsease . . . 

Sh! 
Sbe does not hear : call you out louder I 

Seb. Leave me I 

Go, get your clothes on — dress those shoulders I 

Otti. Sebald ? 

Seb. Wipe off that paint I I hate you. 

Otti. Miserable ! 

Seb. My Gkxl, and she is emptied of it now I 
Ostright now I — how miraonloudy gone 
All of the grace — had she not strange grace 
once? 



Why, the blank cheek hangs listless as it likes, 
No purpose holds the features up together, 
Only the cloven brow and puckered chin 
Stay in their places : and the very hair. 
That aeemed to have a sort of life in it. 
Drops, a dead web ! 
Otti, Speak to me — not of me ! 

Seb. — That round great full-orbed face, 
where not an ansrle 
Broke the delicious indolence — all broken ! 
Otti. To me — not of me ! Ungrateful, per- 
jured cheat ! ^ 
A coward too : but ingrate 's worse than all ! 
Beggar — my slave — a fawning, cringing lie ! 
Leave me I Betray me I I can see your drift ! 
A lie that walks and eats and drinks ! 

^e6. My God ! 
Those morbid olive faultless shoulder-blades — 
I should have known there was no blood be- 
neath! 

Otti. You bate me then? Ton hate me 

then? 
Seb. To think 

She would succeed in her absurd attempt. 
And fascinate by sinning, show herseli 
Supjerior — guilt from its excess superior 
To innocence ! That little peasant^s voice 
Has righted all again. Though I be lost, 
I know which is the better, never fear. 
Of vice or virtue, purity or lust. 
Nature or trick ! I see what I nave done. 
Entirely now I Oh I am proud to feel 
Such torments — let the world take credit 

thence — 
I, having done my deed, pay too its price ! 
I hate, hate — curse you ! God 's in his heaven I 
Otti. —Mel 

Me ! no, no, Sebald, not yourself — kill me ! 
Mine is the whole crime. Do but kill me — 

then 
Yourself — then — presently — first hear me 

speak! 
I always meant to kill myself — wait, you ! 
Lean on my breast — not as a breast; don*t 

love me 
The more because you lean on me, my own 
Heart's Sebald ! There, there, both deaths 
presently ! 
Seb. My brain is drowned now — quite 
drowned : all I feel 
Is ... is, at swift-recurring intervals, 
A hurry-down within me, as of waters 
Loosened to smother up some ghastly pit : 
There they go — whirls from a black nery sea ! 
Otti. Not me — to him, O God, be merciful ! 

Talk by the iray, ickUe Pippa U passing from the kUt- 
side to Oreana. Foreign Students of painting and 
sculptvrsy from Venice^ oMembled opposite the house 
of Jules, a young French statuary ^ at Passagno. 

\st Student. Attention I My own poet is be- 
neath this window, but the pomegranate dump 
yonder will hide three or four of you with a 
little s^ueezin^, and Schramm and his pipe 
must lie flat m the balcony. Four, five — 
who ^s a defaulter ? We want everybody, for 
Jules must not be suffered to hurt his bride 
when the jest 's found out. 



134 



PIPPA PASSES 



2d Stud. All here 1 Only our poet ^s away 
— never having much meant to he present, 
moonstrike him ! The airs of that fellow, that 
Giovacchino I He was in violent love with 
himself, and had a fair prospect of thrivin^r in 
his suit, so uninolested was it, — when suddenly 
a woman falls in love with him, too ; and out 
of pure jealousy he takes himself off to Trieste, 
immortal poem and all : whereto is this pro- 
phetical epitaph appended already, as Blu- 
J)hocks assures me, — ^^ Here a mammoth-poem 
ies. Fouled^ to death by butter files J*^ His own 
fault, the simpleton I ^ Instead of cramp coup- 
lets, each like a knife in your entrails, he 
should write, says Bluphooks, hoth classically 
and intellieibly. — JEsculapius, an Epic. Cat- 
alogue qftne drugs : Hebe's plainer — One strip 
Cools your lip. Phoebus' emulsion — One bottle 
Clears your throttle. Mercury's bolus — One box 
Cures ... 

Zd Stud. Subside, my fine fellow ! If the 
marriage was over by ten o^clock,^ Jules will 
certainly be here in a minute with his bride. 

2d Stud. Good I — only, so should the i>oet'8 
muse have been iiniversiEuly acceptable, says 
Bluphocks, et canibus nostris . . . and Deua 
not better known to our literary dogs than the 
boy Giovacchino ! 

^ 1st Stud. To the point, now. Where 's Gott- 
lieb, the new-comer? Oh,^ — listen, Ckyttlieb, 
to what has called dd^m tms piece of friendly 
veng^eanoe on Jules^ of which we now assemble 
to witness the windmg-up. We are all agreed, 
all in a tale, observe, when Jules shall burst out 
on us in a fury by and by : I^ am spokesman — 
the verses that are to undeceive Jules bear my 
name of Lutwyche — but each professes him- 
self alike insulted by this strutting stone- 
squarer, who came along from Paris toMunich, 
and thence with a crowd of us to Venice and 
Possagno here, but proceeds^ in a day or two 
alone again — oh, alone indubitably I — to 
Rome and Florence. He, forsooth, take up his 
portion with these dissolute, brutalized, heart- 
less bunglers I — so he was heard to caU us iJl. 
Now, is Schramm brutalized, I should like to 
know ? Am I heartless ? 

Gottlieb, Why, somewhat heartless ; for, sup- 
pose Jules a coxcomb as much as you choose, 
still, for this mere coxcombry, you will have 
brushed off — what do folks style it? — the 
bloom of his life. Is it too late to alter? 
These love-letters now, you call his — I can't 
laugh at them. 

4M Stud. Because you never read the sham 
letters of our inditing which drew forth these. 

Gott. His discovery of the truth will be 
frightful. 

Mh Stud. That 's the joke. But yon should 
have joined us at the beginning: there's no 
doubt he loves the girl — loves a model he 
might hire by the hour ! 

Gott. See here I *' He has been accustomed," 
he writes, *^to have Ganova's women about 
him, in stone, and the world's women beside 
him, in flesh : ^ these bein^^ as much below, as 
those above, his soul's aspiration : but now he 
is to have the reality." There you laugh 



again I I say, yon wipe off the very dew of his 
youth. 

1st Stud. Schramm I (Take the pipe out of 
his mouihj somebody !) Will Jules lose the 
bloom of his youth ? 

Schramm. Nothing worth keeping is ever 
lost in this world : look at a blossom — it drops 
presently, haying done its service and lasted its 
time : but fruits succeed, and where would be 
the blossom's place could it continue ? As "weU 
affirm that your eye is no longer in your body, 
because its earliest favorite, whatever it may 
have first loved to look on, is dead and done 
with -^ as that any affection is lost to iJie soul 
when its first object, whatever happened first to 
satisfy it, is superseded in due course. Keep 
but ever looking, whether with the body's eye 
or the mind's, and you will soon find somediing 
to look on I Has a man done wonderine at 
women? — there follow men, dead and auve, 
to wonder at. Has he done wonderii^ at men ? 
— there's God to wonder at: and the faculty 
of wonder may be, at the same time, old and 
tired enough with respect to its first object, and 
yet young and fresh sufficiently, so fsi as con- 
cerns its novel one. Thus . . . 

1st Stud. Put Schramm's pipe into his 
mouth again ! There, you see I Well, this 
Jules . . . a wretched fnbble — oh, I watched 
his disportings at Possagno, the other day! 
Canova^B gallery — you know : there he marches 
first resolvedly past great works by the dozen 
without vouchsfmng an eye : all at once he stops 
full at the Psiche-fanciuUa — cannot pass that 
old acquaintance without a nod of encourage- 
ment — "In your new place, beaulnr? Then 
behave yourself as well here as at Munich — I 
see you I " Next he posts himaplf deliberately 
before the unfinished Pieth for half an hour 
without moving, till up he^ starts of a sudden, 
and thrusts his v^y nose into — I say, into — 
the group ; by which gesture you are informed 
that precisely the sole point he had not fully 
mastered in Canova's practioe was a certain 
method of using the drill in the articulation of 
the knee-joint — and that, likewise, has he mas- 
tered at length ! Good-by, lliereiore, to poor 
Canova — whose gallery no longer needs detain 
his successor Jules, the predestinated novel 
thinker in marble I 

5^A Stud. TeU him about the women : go on 
to the women ! 

1st Stud, Why, on that matter he could never 
be su^rcilious enough. How should we be other 
(he sud) than the poor devils you see, with those 
debasing habits we cherish? He was not to 
wallow m that mire, at least : he would wait, 
and love only at the jproper time, and meanwhile 
put up with the Psiche-fandulkt. Now, I hap- 
pened to hear of a young Greek — real Greek 
girl at Malamocco ; a true Idander, do yon 
see, with Alciphron's "hair like sea-moss" — 
Schramm knows ! — white and quiet as an i4>- 
parition, and fourteen years old at farthest, — 
a daughter of Natalia, so she swears — diathaf^- 
Natalukwho helps us to models at three lire an 
hour. We selected this girl for the heroine of 
our jest. So first, Jules received a scented. 



PIPPA PASSES 



135 



letter— Kniiebodly had seen his Tvdens at the 
Acadfflnr, and my mctnre was nothing to it : a 
profound admiifer bade him perseyere — would 
otb herself known to him ere long. (Paolina, 
my little &iend of the Fenice, transcribes di- 
Tioely.) And in due time, the mjrsterious oor- 
mpoodent gaye certain hints of her peculiar 
duums — the pale cheeks, the black hair — 
vbiteyer, in short, had struck us in our Mala- 
moeeo mod^: we retained her name, too — 
Fhene, which is* hy interpretation, sea-easrle. 
Nov, think of Jules finding' himself distin- 
nahed from the herd of us by such a creature I 
a hk yery first answer he proposed marrying 
bkmoiiitress : and fancy us oyer these letters, 
two, three times a day, to receiye and dispatch I 
Icoooocted the main of it : relations were in 
thevay — secrecy must be observed — in fine, 
vnilil ne wed her on trust, and only speak to 
ber yhen they were indiasolubly united r St — 
st-Hoe they oome ! 

6(& 8lud, Both of them I Heayen's loye, 
apeak softly, speak within yourselyes I 
&i Stud. Look at the bridegroom ! Half 
ins hair in storm and half in calm, — patted 

iawu oyer the left temple, — like a ^thy cup 

one blows on to cool it : and the same old blouse 

tilt be murders the marble in. 
2d Stud. Not a rich yest like yours, Hanni- 

bil Sertttehy I — rich, that your face may the 

better set it ott. 
6(A Stud. And the bride ! Yes, sure enough, 

ov Fhene ! Should you have known her in her 

eJothes ? How magnificently pale I 
G^. She does not also take it for earnest,.! 

iupe? 
iMt Stud, Oh, Natalia^s concern, that is! 

We settle with Natalia. 
(M Stud. She does not speak — has evidently 

let oat no word. The only thing is, will she 

eqaally remember the rest of her lesson, and 

repeat correctly all those yerses which are to 

liesk die secret to Jules ? 
6ott. How he gazes on her ! Pity — pity I 
Ut Stud. They eo in: now, silence! xou 

three, — not nearer the window, mind, than that 

Mmegnaate : just where the little girl, who a 

lew annateB ago passed us singing, is seated ! 

II. NOON 

Ower Ortama. The houte of Jules, toho eroue* Ut 
(kreakold with Tsmsat : she U tOenij on vohich Jvlbb 



Do not die, Fhene I I am yours now, you ^ 
Are nmie now ^ let fate reaich me how she likes, 
Kyoa 11 not die : so, never die I Sit here — 
|& work-room^B single seat. I over-lean 
tsis length of hair and lustrous front ; they 

turn 
like an entiie flower upward : eyes, lips, last ^ 
Toar ehin — no, last your throat turns: 'tis 

their scent 
1^ down my faoe upon you. Nay, look ever 
j^i ooe way till I duuiee, grow you — I could 
diiiq^u into yon, bdoyed I 

You by me, 
^AadlVyyoa; this is your hand in mine. 



And side by side we sit : all 's true. Thank 

Godl 
I have spoken : speak you ! 

O my life to come ! 
My Tydeus must be carved that *s there in day ; 
Yet how be carved, with you about the room? 
Where must 1 place you ? When I think that 

once 
This room-full of rough block-work seemed my 

heaven 
Without you ! Shall I ever work again. 
Get fairly into m^ old wavs again, 
Bid each conception stand wule, trait by trait, 
My hand transfers its^ lineaments to stone ? 
WiU my mere fancies live near you, their 

troth — 
The liye truth, passing and repassing me. 
Sitting beside me ? 

Now speak ! 

Only first, 
See, all your letters! Was't not well con- 
trived ? 
Their hiding-place is Psyche's robe ; she keeps 
Your letters next her skin : which drops out 

foremost ? 
Ah, — this that swam down like a first moon- 
beam 
Into my world ! 

Again those eyes complete 
Their melancholy survey, sweet and slow. 
Of all my room holds ; to .etum and rest 
On me, with pity, yet some wonder too : 
As if God bade some spirit plague a world. 
And this were the one moment of surprise 
And sorrow while she took her station, pausing 
O'er what she sees, finds good, and must de- 
stroy! 
What gaze you at?. Those? Books, I told 

you of ; 
Let your first word to me rejoice them, too : 
This minion, a Colnthus, wnt in red. 
Bistre uid azure by Bessarion's scribe — 
Read this line . . . no, shame — Homer's be the 

Greek 
First breathed me from the lips of my Greek 

girl I 
This Odyssey in coarse black vivid type 
With faded yellow blossoms 'twizt page and 

page* 
To mark great places with due gratitude ; 

** He saial and an Antinous directed 

A bitter shaft "... a flower blots out the rest ! 

AgEun upon your search ? My statues, then ! 

— Ah, oo not mind that — better that Mrill look 

When cast in bronze — an Almaigrn Kaiser, that, 

Swart^ireen and gold, with truncheon based on 

mp. 
This, rather, turn to I What, unrecognized ? ^ 
I thought ^ou would have seen that here you sit 
As I imagmed you, — Hiopolyta, 
Naked upon her bright Numidian horse. 
Recall you this then? ''Carve in bold relief " — 
So you commanded — " carve, a^;ainst I come, 
A Greek, in Athens, as our fashion was. 
Feasting, bay-filleted and thunder-free, 
Who rises 'neath the lifted myrtle-branch. 
' Praise thoee who slew Hipparchus I ' cry the 

guests. 



136 



PIPPA PASSES 



I 



* 'While o'er thy head the singer's myrtle wayes 
As erst above our champion : stand up, all 1 ' *' 
See, I have labored to express your thought. 
Quite round, a cluster of mere hands and arms 
n?hrust in all senses, all ways, from all sides, 
Only consenting at tne branch's end 
They strain toward) serves for frame to a sole 

face, 
The Prwser's, in the centre : who with eyes 
Sightless, so bend they back to light inside 
His brain where visionary forms throng up. 
Sings, minding not that palpitating arch 
Of h&nds and arms, nor the quick drip of wine 
From the drenched leaves overhead, nor crowns 

cast off, 
Violet and parsley crowns to trample on — 
Sings, pausing as the patron-ghosts approve. 
Devoutly their unconquerable hymn. 
But you must say a "well" to that -r- say 
"well!" 
I Because you gaze — am I f antastict sweet ? 
1 Gaze like my very life's-stuff, marble — mar- 
I bly 

I £ven to the silence I Why, before I found 
The real flesh Phene, I inured myself 
To see, throughout all nature, varied stuff 
For better nature's birth by means of art : 
With me, each substance tended to one form 
Of beauty — to the human archetype. 
On every side occurred suay tivo fparms 
Of that — the tree, the flower — or take the 
fruit, — ~ "^ 'y •• 

Some rosy shape, continuing the peach. 
Curved beewise o'er its boug^ ; as rosy limbs. 
Depending, nestled in the leaves ; and hist 
From a deft rose-peach the whole Dryaa sprang. 
But of the stuffs one can be master of. 
How I divined their cai>abilities I 
From the soft-rinded smoothening facile chalk 
That yields your outline to the air's embrace. 
Half-softened by a halo's pearly gloom ; 
Down to the crisp imperious steel, so sure 
To cut its one confided thought clean out 
Of all the world. But marble ! — 'neatli my 

tools 
More pliable tiian ielly — as it were 
Some clear primordial creature dug from depths 
In the earth's heart, where itself breeds itself. 
And whence all baser substance may be worked ; 
Refine it off to air, you may, — condense it 
Down to the difunond ; — is not metal there, 
When o'er the sudden speck my chisel trips ? 
— Not flesh, as flake off flake I scale, approach. 
Lay bare those bluish veins of blood asleep ? 
Lurks flame in no strange windings where, sur- 
prised 
Bv the swift implement sent home at once. 
Flushes and glowings radiate and hover 
About its track ? 

Phene ? what — why is this ? 
That wbitenini^ cheek, those still dilatancr eyes I 
Ah, yon will die — I knew that you would die ! 

Phbrb begiiUj on his htxoing long remained »Uent. 

Now the end 's coining ; to be sure, it must 
Have ended sometime I Tush, why need I speak 
Their foolish speech ? I cannot bring to mind 
One half of it, oeside ; and do not care 



For old Natalia now, nor any o| them. 
Oh, yon — what are you ? — if ]> do not try 
To say the words Natalia made|me leam. 
To please your friends, — it is tW keep myself 
Where vour voice lifted me, by letting that 
Proceed : but can it ? Even yoli, perhaps. 
Cannot take up, now you have ince let tall. 
The music's life, and me along ^ith that — 
No, or you would I We '11 stay, ihen, as we are: 
Above the world. / 

You creatur^ with the eyes ! 
If I could look forever up to thfim. 
As now you let me, — I believe, all sin. 
All memory of wrong done, suffering borne. 
Would drop down, low and lower^ to the earth 
Whence all that 's low comes, and there touch 
and stay 

— Never to overtake the rest of me. 
All that, unspotted, reaches up to you. 
Drawn by those eyes I What rises is myself, 
Not me the shame and suffering ; but they sink. 
Are left, I rise above them. Koep me so. 
Above tne world I 

But you sink, for your eyes 
Are altering — altered! Stay — "I love you, 

love ' . . . 
I could prevent it if I understood : 
More of your words to me : was 't in the tone 
Or the words, your power ? 

Or stay — I will repeat 
Their speech, if that contents you ! Only change 
No more, and I shall find it presently 
Far back here, in the brain vourself filled up. 
Natalia threatened me that harm should f ouow 
Unless I spoke their lesson to the end. 
But harm to me, I thought ghe meant, not yon. 
Your friends, — Natalia said they were your 

friends 
And meant you well, — because, I doubted it. 
Observing (what was very strange to see) 
On every face, so different in all else. 
The same smile girls like me are used to bear, 
But never men, men cannot stoop so low ; 
Yet your friends, speaking of yon, uaed that 

smile, 
That hateful smirk of boundless self-conceit 
Which seems to take possession of the world 
And make of God a tame confederate. 
Purveyor to their appetites . . . you know ! 
But still Natalia said they were your friendis. 
And they assented though they smiled the more. 
And all came round me, — that thin Ebg-lishman 
With lieht lank hair seemed leader of the rest ; 
He held a paper — " What we want," said he. 
Ending some explanation to his friends — 
** Is something dow, involved and mystical. 
To hold Jules long in doubt, yet take his taste 
And lure him on until, at innermost 
Where he seeks sweetness' soul, he may find 

— thisl 

— As in the apse's core, the noisome fly : 
For insects on the rind are seen at once. 
And brushed aside as soon, but this is found 
Onlv when on the lips or loathing tongae>" 
Ana so he read what I have got by heart : 
I '11 speak it, — ** Do not die, love I I am 



yours 



?i 



No — is not that, or like that, inrt of words 



ft 



PIPPA PASSES 



137 



TooxHelf begtti by t/peaMoK ? btrange to loae 
Wbat oost saoh paios to kam ! Is ihia more 
rigbt? 

Jail a painter who cannot paint ; 
In mjf l\fe^ a devil rather than saint ; 
In my bnun^ as poor a creature too : 
No aid to ail I ceannot do ! 
Yet do one thinq at least I can — 
Love a man or note a man 

ly : thus my lore began. 
jA the Valley of Love I went^ 
In theUnringest spot to abide^ 
And just on the verge where I pitched my tent, 
Ifomd Hale dwelling beside. 
{Let the Bridegroom ask what ihejpainter meant ^ 
Of his Bride^ qf the peerless Bride I) 
And further, I traversed Haters grove. 
In the hat^fuUest nook to dwell; 
Btit lo^ where I flung myself prone, couched Love 
Where the shadow thre^oldfeU. 
{The meaning — those black bride* s-eyes above. 
Net a painter^ s lip should tell I) 

"And here," said he, "Jules probably will 



'Ton have blaek eyes. Love, — you are, sore 

enough, 
Jjb peerless bride, — then do you tell indeed 
Wnsi needs some explanation! What means 

this?'" 
—And I am to go on, without a word — 

So, I grew wise in Love and Hate, 
From simple that I was qflate. 
Ones, when I loved, I would enlace 
Breast, eyelids, haruls, feet, form and face 
Of her I loved, in one embrace -^ 
As if by mere love I could love immensely I 
Once, when I hated, I would plunge 
Mjf sword, and wipe with the first lunge 
161 foe's whole life out like a sponge — 
As if by mere hate I could hate intensely ! 
But now I am wiser, know better the fashion 
How passion seeks aid from its opposite pas- 
sion: 
And if I see cause to love more, hate more 
J%an ever man loved, ever hated btfore — 
And seA in the Valley of Love 
The nest, or the nook in Hotels Grove 
Where my soul may surely reach 
The essence, nauahL less, of each, 
IKe Hate of all Hates, the Love 
Of all Loves, in the Valley or Grove, — 
^nd them the very warders 
JBaeh qfthe other* s borders. 
When I lave most. Love is disguised 
In Hale; and when Hate is surprised 
lujjove, then I hate most: ask 
Bow Love smiles through Haters iron casque. 
Hate grins through Lovers rose-braided mask, — 
And horn, having hated thee, 
I sought long omd paii^fully 
To reach thy heart, nor prick 
The ddn but pierce to the quick — 
Ask this, my Jules, and be answered straight 
By thy bride — htw the painter Lutwyche can 
hate! 



JuLB interposes, 

Lutwyche ! Who else ? But all of them, no 

doubt, 
Hated me : they at Venice — presently 
Their turn, however I You I shall not meet : 
If I dreamed, saying this would wake me. 

Keep 
What 's here, the gold — we cannot meet again. 
Consider ! and the monev was but meant 
For two years' travel, which is over now, 
All chance or hoi>e or care or need of it. 
This — and what comes from selling these, my 

casts 
And books and medals, except ... let them go 
Together, so the produce keeps you safe 
Out of Natalia's clutches I If by chance 
(For all 's diance here) I should survive the gang 
At Venice, root out all fifteen of them, 
We might meet somewhere, since the world is 

wide. 
iF^om wUhoui is heard the voice 0/ Pitfa, tinging — 

Give her but a least excuse to love me ! 
When — u^iere — 

How — can this arm establish her above me. 
If fortune, fixed her as mu lady there. 
There already, to eternally reprove me f 
r Hist ! " — said Kate the Queen ; 
But "OA/" cried the maiden, binding her 

^ tresses, 
** ^Tis only a paae that carols unseen. 
Crumbling your hounds their messes ! ")^ 

Is she wronged t — To the rescue qfher honor, 

My heart I 

Is she poort— What costs it to be styled a do- 
nor? 

Merely an earth to cleave, a sea to part. 

But that fortune should have thrust all this upon 
her! 

C Nay, list! " — bade Kate the Queen ; 

And sttU cried the maiden, binding her tresses, 

*^ ' T is only a paae that carols unseen. 

Fitting your hawks their jesses ! ") 

iTar A passe*, 

JvLus resumes. 
What name was that the little girl sang forth ? 
Kate ? The Comaro, doubtless, who renounced 
Ihe crown of Gyiyrus to be lady here 
At Asolo, where still her memory stays, 
And peasants sing how once a certain page 
Pinea for the grace of her so far above 
His power of doing good to, * * Kate the Queen — 
She never could be wronged, be poor,'' he 

sifirhed 
" Need him to help her ! " 

Yes, a bitter thing 
To see our lady above all need of us ; 
Yet so we look ere we will love ; not I, 
But the world looks so. If whoever loves 
Must be, in some sort, god or worshipper, 
The blessine or the blest one, queen or page, 
Why should we always choose the page s part ? 
Here is a woman with utter need 01 me, — 
I find myself queen here, it seems ! 

How strange I 
Look at the woman here with the new soul, 
Like my own Psyche, — fresh upon her hps 



'38 



PIPPA PASSES 



Alit, the yidonarv butterfly, 

Waiting my word to enter and make bright, 

Or flntter off and leave all blank as first. 

This bodr had no soul before, bnt slept 

Or stixred, was beaateons or ungainly, free 

From taint or foul with stain, as outward 

things 
Fastened tdeir image on its passiyeness : ^ 
Now, it will wake, feel, live — or die again I 
Shall to produce form out of unshaped stuff 
Be Art — and further, to evoke a soul 
From form be nothing? This new soul is 

mine ! 



t 



Kow, to kill Lutwyche, what would that do ? — 



save 



'A wretched dauber, men wffl hoot to death 
iWithout me, from their hooting. Oh, to hear 
Good's voice plain as I heard it first, before 
They broke in with their laughter I I heard 

tJiem 
Henceforth, not God. 

To Ancona — Greece — some isle I 
I wanted silence only ; there is day 
Everywhere. One may do whatever one likes 
In Art : the only thing is, to make sure 
Tliat one does uke it — which takes pains to 

know. 
Scatter all this, my Phene — this mad dream ! 
Who, what is Lutwyche, what Natalia^s friends. 
What the whole world except our love — my 

own. 
Own Phene ? Bnt I told you, did I not. 
Ere night we travel for your land — son^e isle 
With the sea's silence on it ? Stand aside — 
I do but break these i>altry models up 
To begin Art afresh. Meet Lutwyche, I — 
And save him from mjr statue meeting him ? 
Some unsuspected isle in the far seas ! 
Like a goa going through his world, there 

stands 
One mountain for a moment in the dusk. 
Whole brotherhoods of cedars on its brow : 
And you are ever by me while I gaze 
— Are in my arms as now — as now — as now I 
Some unsuspected isle in the far seas ! 
Some imsuspected isle in far-off seas ! 

Talk by the way, wMle Puva is pasHng/rom Orcana to 
the Turret. Two or three of the Austrian Police 
loitering with Bluphocu, an English vagabond^ just 
in view of the Turret. 

Bluphocks^ So, that is your Pipj^ the lit- 
tle girl who passed us singing? Well, your 
Bishop's Litendant's money sludl be honestly 
eamea : — now, don't make me that sour face 
because I bring the Bishop's name into the busi- 
ness ; we know he can have nothing to do with 
such horrors : we know that he is a saint and 
all that a bishop should be, who is a great man 
beside. Oh were hut every worm a maggoty 
Every ^fiy a griffs Every bough a Christmas fiigot. 
Every tune a jig I In fact^ I have abjured all 
religions; but the last I mclined to was the 
Armenian : for I have travelled, do you see, 
and at Koenigsberg, Prussia Improper (so 

1 " He maketh hi« sun to rlM on the evil and on the 
good, Mid aendeth rain on the Just and on the unjost." 



styled because there 's a sort of bleak hungr}' 
sun there), you might remark, over a venerable 
house-porch, a certain Chaldee inscription ; and 
brief as it is, a mere glance at it usedabsolntely 
to change the mood of every bearded passenger. 
In they turned, one and all ; the yoting and 
Ughtsome, with no irreverent pause, the aged 
and decrepit, with a sensible alacrity : ^t was 
the Grand Rabbi's abode, in short. Struck 
with curiosity, I lost no time in learning Syriac 
— (these are vowels, you dogs, — follow my 
stick's end in the mud — CelarerU, JDarii^ 
Ferio!) and one morning presented m^^aelf, 
spelling-book in hand, a, b, c, — I picked it out 
letter by letter, and what was the purport of 
this miraculous posy ? Some cherished legend 
of the past, you'll say — ^^ How Moses hocus- 
pocussed EgypCs lana with fly and locust,'*'* — 
or, ** How to Jonah sounded harshish. Get thee 
up and go to Tarshish, " — or " How the angel 
meeting Balaam, Straight his ass returned 
a salaam,^^ In no wise I *''' Shackabrack — 
Boach — somebody or other — Isaach, Be^cei-ver^ 
Pw'cha-ser and Ex-chan-ger of — jSto^ 
Goods ! " So, talk to me of the religion of 
a bishop I I have renounced all bishops save 
Bishop Beveridge I — mean to live so — and 
die — -4s some Greek dog-sage, dead and merry, 
HeUward hound in Charon^ s wherry. With food 
for both worlds, under and upper., lAipine-seed 
and Hecate's supper. And never an oboUu 
. . . (though thanks to you, or this Intendant 
through you, or this Bishop throueh his Inten- 
dant — I possess a burning pocket-full of xwan- 
zigers) . . ,To pay the Stygian Ferry ! 

Ist Policeman. There is the girl, then ; go 
and deserve them the moment you have pointed 
out to us Signor Luigi and his mother. [ To the 
rest,^ I have been noticing a house yonder, this 
long while : not a shutter unclosed since morn- 
ing! 

2d Pol, Old Luca Gaddi's, that owns the 
silk-mills here: he dozes by the hour, wakes 
upj sighs deeply, says he should like to be 
Prmce Mettemioh, and then dozes again, after 
having bidden young Sebald, the foreigner, set 
his wife to playing draughts. Never molest 
such a househola, they mean well. 

Blup. Only, cannot you tell me somethins^of 
this little Pippa, I must have to do with ? One 
could make something of that name. Pippa — 
that is, ^ort for Felippa — rhyming^ Pamuye 
consults Hertrippa — Believest thou^ing Agnp- 
pa f Something might be done with that name. 

2d Pol, Put into rhyme that your head and 
a ripe muskmelon would not be dear at half a 
zwanziger ! Leave this fooling, and look ont ; 
the afternoon 's over or nearly so. 

3d Pol. Where in this passport of Signor 
Luigi does our Principal instruct you to 'watch 
him so narrowly ? Tiiere ? What 's there be- 
side a simple signature ? (That English fool *8 
busy watcnJngQ 

2d Pol, Flourish all round — ''Putall posi- 
ble obstacles in hiswav; " oblong dot at the 
end — ^^ Detain him till further advices i:^each 
you;" scratch at bottom — '"Send him hack 
on pretence of some informality in the aboire ; ^ 



PIPPA PASSES 



139 



on rigiitluuid side (which is the case 
hsre) — *' Arrest him at onoe.*' Why and 
vherefore, I don't oonoem myself .but my in- 
gtnicdons amonnt to this : if Signor Laigi leaves 
lunne to-ni^t for Vienna — well and s^)od, the 
usBport deposed with ns for onr visa is really 
lor nis own nse, they haye misinformed the 
Office, 9ad he means well ; bat let him stay 
orer to^nght — there has been the pretence we 
supeet, the aoconnts of his corresponding and 
bolob^ intelligenoe with the Carbonari are cor- 
net^ we arrest him at once, to-morrow comes 
Yemce, and presently Spielberg. Blnphocks 
makes the signal, sore enough I That is he, 
entering the turret with his mother, no doubt. 



III. EVENING 



InsitU tike Tttrret on the HiU above Atolo, Luioi and 
hU MoiHSB entering. 

Mother, If there blew wind, you 'd hear a 
loqgsigh, easing 
Tie utmost heaviness of music^s heart. 
Lmmi. Here in the archway ? 
Matker. Oh no, no — in farther, 

Where the echo is made, on the ridge. 

LiUgi. Here surely, then, 

flow t>Uiin the tap of my heel as I leaped up I 
Hark — ^* Ludus Junius ! ** The very ghost of 

n Yoioe 
Whose body is caught and kept by . . . what 

are those? 
Kere withered wallflowers, waving overhead ? 
They seon an elvish group with tinin bleached 



Hiat lean out of their topmost fortress — look 
And fisten, mountain men, to what we say, 
Hand und^ chin of each grave earthv face. 
Up and diow faces all of you 1 — " All of you ! ^* 
That 's the king dwarf with the scarlet comb ; 

old Franz, 
Cflme down and meet your fate? Hark — 
"Meet your fate!'' 

Mother. Let him not meet it, my Luigi — do 
not 
Go to his City I Putting crime aside, 
Half of these ills of Italy are feigned : 
Tour PelEeos and writen for effect. 
Write far effect. 

lAom. Hush ! Say A writes, and B. 

Mother. These A's and B's write for effect, 
I say. 
Tlien, erilis in its nature loud, while good 
Is silent : you hear each pettjr injury, 
None of his virtues : he is olcl beside, 
Qniet and kind, ana densely stupid. Why 
Do A and B kill not him themselves ? 

Luigi. They teach 

Others to kin him — me — and, if I fail. 
Others to succeed ; now, if A tried and failed, 
I eoold not teach that : mine 's the lesser task. 
Mttfaer, they visit night by night . 

Mather. — You, Luigi ? 

Ak win yon let me tell you what vou are ? 

hngi. Why not ? Oh, the one thing you fear 
to faint. 
Ton may assure y onxaelf I say and say 
£ver to myself ! At times — nay, even as now 



We sit — I think my mind is touched, suspect 
All is not sound : but is not knowing that, 
What constitutes one sane or otherwise ? 
I know I am thus — so, aU is right again. 
I laugh at myself as through the town I walk, 
And see men merry as if no Italy 
Were suffering ; then I ponder — " I am rich, 
Toung, healthy; why should this fact trouble me, 
More than it troubles these ? '* But it does 

trouble. 
No, trouble 's a bad word : for as I walk 
There 's springing and melody «id giddiness, 
And old quaint turns and passages of my youth, 
Dreams long forgotten, little in themselves. 
Return to me — whatever may amuse me : 
And earth seems in a truce with me, and heaven 
Accords with me, aU things suspend l^eir strife. 
The very cicala laughs There goes he, and 

there! 
Feast him, tlie time is short ; he is on his way 
For the world's sake : feast him this once, our 

friend ! " 
And in return for all this, I can trip 
Cheerfully up the scaffold-steps. 1 go 
This evemng, mother I 

Mother. But mistrust yourself — 

Mistrust the judgment you pronounce on him ! 

Luigi. Oh, there I feel — am sure that I am 
right! 

Mather. Mistrust your judgment then, of the 
mere means 
To this wild enterprise : say, you are right, — 
How should one in your state e^er bring to pass 
What would require a cool head, a cool heart. 
And a calm hand ? Tou never wiU escape. 

Luigi. Escape? To even wish that, would 
spoil aU. 
The dying is best part of it. Too much 
Have I enjoyed these fifteen years of mine, 
To leave myself excuse for longer life : 
Was not life pressed down, running o*er with 

That I might finish with it ere my f eUows 

Who, sparelier feasted, make a longer stay ? 

I was put at the board-head, helped to aU 

At first ; I rise ud happy and content. 

God must be glaa one loves his world so much. 

I can give news of earth to aU the dead 

Who ask me : — last year's sunsets, and great 

stars 
Which had a right to come first and see ebb 
The crimson wave that drifts the sun away — 
Those crescent moons with notched and Dum- 

. ing rims 
That strengthened into sharp fire, and there 

stood. 
Impatient of the azure — and that day 
In March, a double rainbow stopped the storm - 
May's warm slow yeUow moonlit summer 

nights — 
Gone are they, but I have them in my soul ! 
Mother. (He wiU not go !) 
Luigi, You smile at me ? 'T is true, — 

Voluptuousness, grotesqueness, ghastliness. 
Environ my devotedness as quaintly 
As round about some antique aX\ax wreathe 
The rose festoons, goats^ horns, and oxen's 

skulls. 



I40 



PIPPA PASSES 



Mother, See now : you reach the city, you must 

cross 
His threshold — how ? 

Luigi. Oh, that 's if we conspired ! 

Then would come pains in plenty, as you guess — 
Bat graess not how the ^iialities most fit 
For snch an office, qnahties I have, 
Would little stead me, otherwise employed, 
Tet prove of rarest merit only here. 
Every one knows for what his excellence 
Will serve, hut no one ever will consider 
For what his worst defect might serve : and yet 
Have you not seen me range our cm>pice yonder 
In search of a distorted ash ? — I find 
The wry spoilt hranoh a natural perfect bow. 
Fanc3[ the thrice-sage, thrice-precautioned man 
Arriving at the palace on my errand I 
No, no ! I have a handsome dress packed up — 
White satin here, to set o£P my black hair ; 
In I shall march — for you may watch your life 

out^ 
Behind thick vralls, make friends there to be- 
tray you ; 
More than one man spoils everything. March 

straight — 
Only, no clumsy knife to fumble for, 
Take the great gate, and walk (not saunter) on 
Through guards and guards — I have re- 

heaised it all 
Inside the turret here a hundred times. 
Don^t ask the wav of whom you meet, observe I 
But where they cluster thickliest is the door 
Of dooraj: they 'U let you pass — they '11 never 

blao 
Each to the other, he knows not the favorite. 
Whence he is. bound and what 's his business 

now. 
Walk in — strai^rht up to him ; you have no 

knife: 
Be prompt, how should he scream ? Then, out 

with you I 
Italy, Italy, my Italy ! 
Ton 're free, yon 're free ! Oh mother, I could 

dream 
They got about me — Andrea from his exile, 
Pier m>m his dungeon, Gualtier from his grave I 
Mother, Well, you shall go. Yet seems this 

patriotism 
The easiest virtue for a selfish man 
To acquire : he loves himself — and next, the 

world — 
If he must love beyond, — but naught between : 
As a short-siehted man sees naught midway 
His body and the sun above. But you 
Are my adored Luigi, ever obedient 
To mv least wish, and running o'er with love : 
I could not call you cruel or unkind. 
Once more, your ground for killing him I — then 

go! 
Luigi, Now do you try me, or make sport of 

me? 
How first the Austriaos got these provinces . . . 
(If that is all, I '11 satisfy vou soo^ 
— Never by conquest but by cunning, for 
That treaty whereby . . . 
Mother. Well? 

Luigi. (Sure, he 's arrived. 

Hie tell-tale cuckoo : spring 's his confidant. 



And he lets out her April purposes I) 

Or . . . better go at once to modem time. 

He has . . . they have ... in fact, I under- 

stand 
But can't restate the matter ; that 's my boast : 
Others could reason it out to you, and prove 
Things they have made me feel. 

Mother, Why ero to-night ? 

Mom 's for adventure. Jupiter is now 
A moraing^star. I cannot hear you, Luigi I 

Luigi, I am the bright and moming^^tar," 
saith God — 
And, ** to such an one I give the moming'fitar." 
The gift of the morning-star I Have I Gbd's gift 
Of the moming^tar ? 

Mother.^ Chiara will love to see 

That Jupiter an evening^tar next June. 

Luigi. True, mother. Well for those who 
live through June I 
Great noontides, tibunder-storms, all g-laring 

pomps 
That triumph at the heels of June the god 
Leading his revel through our leafy world. 
Yes, Chiara will be here. 

Mother, In June : remember. 

Yourself ap p ointed that month for her coming. 

Luigi. Was that low noise the echo ? 

Mother. The m^ht-wind. 

She must be grown — with her blue eyes up- 
turned 
As if life were one long and sweet suxprise : 
In June she comes. 

Luigi. We were to see together 

The Titian at Treviso. There, afiain I 

IFrom toiihout is heard the voice o/ntrA^ einging — 

A king lived long ago. 

In the morning of vie world. 

When earth was nigher heaven than now : 

And the king* 8 lodes curled. 

Disparting oW^ a forehead full 

As the miUc^white space Hwixt horn and Mom 

Ofsomt sacri^ciafhull — 

Only calm as a babe new-bom : 

For he was got to a sUe^ mood^ 

So safe from all decrepitude. 

Age with its bane, so sure gone by, 

(The gods so loved him whUe he dreamed) 

Thai, having lived thus long, there seemed 

No need the king should ever die, 

Luigi. No need that sort of kmg ahoiild 
ever die ! 

Among the rocks his cih/ was : 
Btfore his palace, in the sun. 
He sat to see his people pass, 
And judge them every one 
From its threshold of smooth stone. 
They haled him many a vaUeu-thief 
Caught in the sheep-pens, roobar-eni^ 
Swcarthy and shameless, beggar-cheat. 
Spy-prowler, or rough pirate found 
On the sea-sand ^fi <igroundf 
And sometimes dung about his feet. 
With bleedinfi lip and burning dteek, 
A woman, bitterest wrong to speak 
Of one with sullen thidcsiet brows : 
And sometimes from the prison-houae 



PIPPA PASSES 



14 i 



Tke angry priesta a jpale wretch hnmffia, 

Wkoiurtmgksomechxnkhad pushed and presued 

Or knees and elbows^ belly and breast. 

Worm-nice into the temple, — caught 

He was by the very god. 

Who ever in the darkness strode 

Badtward and forward, keeping watch 

(yer his brazen bowls, such rogues to aUch I 

TketSj ail and every one, 

Thi hxng judged,, sitting in the sun, 

Ldgi, That king should still judge sitting in 
thesnnl 

His eouncillors, on ^ftand right. 
Looked anxious up, — but no surprise 
Disturbed the king's old smiling eyes 
Where the veryblue had tumeato white, 
'Tis said, a Irython scared one day 
The breathless city, till he came, 
Wilhforky tonaue and eyes on 'flame. 
Where the old King sat to judge alway ; 
Bvt when he saw the sweepf/ nair 
Girt with a crown of berries rare 
Which the god will hardly give to u^ear 
To the maiden who singeth,^ dancing bare 
Jn tke altar-smoke by thejoine^orch lights. 
At his wondrous forest rites, — 
Seeing this, he did not dare 
Appnach that threshold in the sun, 
Aaault the old king smiling there. 
Swch grace had kings when the world begun ! 

IFnrk passes. 
Lidgi. And snch graoe have they, now that 
Ihe world ends ! 

Tlie Python at Uie city, on the throne, 

had ht«re men, Qod would erown for slaying 
him, 

Lnk in hy-e o m e rs lent they fall his prey. 

Axe erowna yet to be won in this late time, 

WUeh wealniesB makes me hesitate to reach ? 

T is God's Toice calls: how could I stay? 
Farewell! 

Aft dy the way, tehUe Tnvx is passing from the Turret 
to tii Biihop*» Broiher*s House, close to the Duomo 
S. Maria. Poor Gnu sitting on the steps. 

laC Girl. There goes a swallow to Venice — 
the stout seararer t 
SeoBg those birds fly, makes one wish for wings. 
Let us all wish ; you, wish fint ! 

2d Girl. I? This sunset 

Tofimah. 

3(/ Girl. That old — somebodv I know, 
Qtasfer and older than my grandfather. 
To m% me the oune treat ne gave Isst week — 
Feeding me on his knee with ng-peckers, 
I^mpTBys and red Breganze-wine, and mum* 

The while some foUy about how well -I fare, 
Lk at and eat my supper quietly : 
SSaee had he not nimself been late this morning 
Detained at — never mind where, — had he 

not . . . 
'*£h,haegage, hadlnot! '' — 

2d 6tr<. How she can lie ! 

2d Girl, Look there — by the nails I 

2d Girl. What makes your fingeis red ? 

3d Girl, Dipping theminto wine to write bad 
words with 



On the bright table : how he laughed I 

\st Girl. My turn. 

Spring 's come and summer 's coming. I would 

wear 
A long loose gown, down to the feet and hands,* 
With plaits here, close about the throat, all day ; 
And all night lie, the cool long nifirhts, in bed ; 
And have new milk to drink, apiues to eat, 
Deuzans and junetings, leather-coats . . . ah, I 

should say. 
This is away in the fields — miles ! 

dcf Girl. Say at once 

You 'd be at home : she 'd always be at home ! 
Now comes the story of the farm among 
The cherry orchards, and how April snowed 
White blossoms on her as she ran. Why, fool. 
They 've rubbed the chalk-mark out, how tall 

you were. 
Twisted your starling's neck, broken his cage. 
Made a dung-hiU of your garden ! 

1st Girl. They destroy 

My garden since I left them ? well — perhaps 
I would have done so : so I hope they nave ! 
A fig-tree curled out of our cottage wall ; 
They called it mine. I have forgotten why, 
It must have been there long ere I was bom : 
Cric — eric — I think I hear tiie wasps over- 
head 
Pricking the papers strung to flutter there 
And keep off birds in fruit-time — coaise long 

pai>ei8, 
And the wasps eat them, prick them through 

and through. 
Zd Girl. How her mouth twitches I Where 

was I? —before 
She broke in with her wishes and long gowns 
And wasps — would I be such a foou — Oh, 

here! 
This is my way : I answer every one 
Who asks me why I make so much of him — 
(If you say, " you love him " — steaight " he 'U 

notbeeulled ! ") 
*^ He that seouced me when I was a girl 
Thus high — had eyes like yours, or hair like 

yours. 
Brown, red, white," — as the case may be : 

that pleases I 
See how that beetle burmshes in the path 1 
There sparkles he along the dust : and, there — 
Your joume y to that maize-tuft snoiledjat least ! 
1st Girl. When I was young, tney said if you 

killed one 
Of those sunshinv beetles, that his friend 
Up there, would shine no more that day nor 

next. 
2d Girl. When you were young ? Nor are 

you young, that 's true. 
How your plump arms, that were, have dropped 

away I 
Why, I can span them. Gecco beats you still ? 
No matter, so you keep your curious hair. 
I wish they 'd find a way to dye our hair 
Your color — any lighter tint, indeed. 
Than black : the men say they are sick of black. 
Black eyes, black hair I 

4ith Girl, Sick of yours, like enough. 

Do you pretend you ever tasted lampreys 
And ortolans ? Giovita, of the pahuse, 



142 



PIPPA PASSES 



Engaged (bat there 's no trusting him) to slioe 

me 
Polenta with a knife that had cnt np 
An ortolan. 

2d Girl. Whv,therel Is not that Piopa 
We are ^ to talk to, under the window, — 

quick I — 
Where the lights are ? 

1st Girl, That she ? No, or she would sing, 
For the Intendant said . . . 

3d Girl. Oh, you sing first I 

Then, if she listens and comes close ... I '11 

tell you, — 
Sing that song the young English noble made. 
Who took you for uie purest of the pure. 
And meant to leave the world for you — what 
fun! 
2d Girl. [Sings.] 

You Vi low me yet ! — and I can tarry 

Your love's protracted growing: 
June reared that bunch of flowers you carry ^ 
From seeds qfApriVs sowing. 

I plant a heartfull now : some seed 

At Uiist is sure to strike. 
And yield — what you Hi not pluck indeed. 

Not love, but, may be, like. 

You ^U lock at least on lovers remains, 

A gravels one violet : 
Your look f — that pays a thousand pains. 

What 's death f You ^U love me yet! 

'6d Girl. [To'PiWA. who approaches,'] Oh . y ou 
may come closer — we shall not eat you 1 Why, 

Cseem the very person that the ^reat ricn 
dsome Rnglishman has fallen so violently in 
love with. 1^11 tell you all about it. 

IV. NIGHT 

Inside the Palace by the Duomo, Honbionor, dis- 
mitHng his Attendants. 

Monsignor, Thanks, friends, many thanks! 
I chiefly desire life now, that I may recompense 
every one of you. Most I know somethinfir, of 
already. What, a repast prepared ? Beneaicto 
benedicatur . . . ugh, ugh ! Where was I ? Oh, 
as you were remarking, XJgo, the weather is mild, 
very unlike winter-weather : but I am a Sicilian, 
von know, and shiver in your Julys here. To 
be sure, wnen 't was full summer at Messina, as 
we priests used to cross in procession the great 
square on Assumption Da^, you might see our 
thickest yeUow tapers twist suddenly in two, 
each like a falling star, or sink down on them- 
selves in a gore of wax. But go, my friends, but 
go! [To ^Intendant.] Not you, Ugo I [The 
others leave the apartment^ I have long wanted 
to converse with you, Ugo. 

Intendant, Uguocio — 

Mon, . . . *guooio Stefani, man ! of Ascoli, 
Feimo and Fossombruno ; — what I do need in- 
structing about, are these accounts of your ad- 
ministration of my poor brother's affairs. Ugh ! 
I shall never get tnrough a third part of your 
accounts ; take some of these dainties before we 



attempt it, however. Are you bashf ol to that 
degree ? For me, a crust and water suffice. 

Inten, Do yon choose this especial night to 
question me ? 

Mon. This night, Ugo. Tou have managed 
my late brother's anairs since the death of oar 
elder brother : fourteen years and a month, all 
but three days. On the Third of December, I 
find him . . . 

Inten. If you have so intimate an acqnaintaaoe 
with your brother's affairs, you will be tenda 
of turning so far back : they will hardly bear 
looking into, so far back. 

Mon, Ay. ay, ugh, ugh, — nothing but disqi- 
pointments nere mIow ! I remark a ooD8ide^ 
able payment made to yourself on tlus Third of 
December. Talk of <usappointment8 ! Them 
was a young fellow here, Jules, a foreign sculptor 
I did my utmost to advance, that the Chmch 
might be a gainer by us both : he was gmng on 
hopefully enough, and of a sudden he notifies to 
xue some marvellous change that has happened in 
his notions of Art. Here's his letter, — ** He 
never had a dearly conceived Ideal within his 
brain till tonday . Yet since his hand could maa- 
age a chisel, he has practised expressing other 
men's Ideals ; and, in the very perfection ne has 
attained to, he foresees an ultimate failure : his 
unconscious hand will pursue its preserihed 
course of old years, and will reproduce with a 
fatal expertness the ancient types, let the norel 
one appear never so palpably to his ^>i^t 
There is but one method of escape : copndiiv 
the virgin tyi>e to as chaste a hand, he will ton 
painter instead of sculptor, and paint, not carve, 
its characteristics,"^ — strike out, I dare 8ur,a 
school like Correggio : how think you, Ugo r 

Inten. Is Correggio a painter ? 

Mon, Foolish Jules ! and yet, after all, whj 
foolish ? He may — probably will — fail egw- 
giously ; but if there should arise a new painter, 
will it not be in some such way, by a ^oet nov. 
or a musician (spirits who have conceived and 
perfected an Ideal through some other oluuinel). 
transferrins: it to this, and escaping our oonvea- 
tional roads by pure ignorance of them: eh. 
Ugo ? If you have no appetite, talk at least, 
Ugo ! 

Inten, Sir, I can submit no longer to tui 
course of yours. First, you select the ^roop 
of which I formed one, — next you thin it 
gradually, — always retaming me with yoor 
smile, — and so do you proceed till yon osTe 
fairly got me alone with you between four stone 
walls. And now then? ^ Let this faroe, thif 
chatter end now : what is it you want with me? 

Mon. Uffo ! 

Inten, From the instant yon arrived, I felt 
your smile on me as you questioned me about 
this and the other article in those papers^ 
why your brother should have given me thk 
villa, that vodere, — and your nod at the end 
meant, — what ? 

Mon, Possibly that I wished for no loud talk 
here. If once you set me coughing, Ugo ! — * 

Inten, I have your brother's hand and seal 
to all I pomess : now ask me what for ! what 
service 1 did him — ask me ! 



PIPPA PASSES 



143 



JfoA. I would better not : I should rip up 
(Ad disgraces, let out my poor brother^s weak- 
nesses. By the wa^, Maffeo of Forli, (which. I 
forgot^ to observe, is your true name,) was tne 
EDterdiet ever taken off you for robbing that 
diurch at Gesena? 

Inten. No, nor needs be : for when I mut^ 
dered your brother's friend, Pasquale, for 
him ... 

Mon, Ah, he employed you in that busi- 
iieas, did he ? Well, I must let you keep, as 
yon say. this yilla and that podare, for fear the 
wodd snonid find out my relations were of so 
indifferent a stamp ? Maffeo, my family is the 
oldest in Meawina, and centiuy after century 
have my nrogenitom^ gone on poUuting them- 
setres iritii eyery wickedness under heaven : 
my own father . . . rest his soul I — I have, I 
know, a chapel to support that it may rest : 
my dear two dead brothers were, — what you 
know tolerably well ; I, the^ youngest, might 
have rivaDed them in vice, if not in wealth : 
bat from my boyhood I came out from among 
them, and so am not partaker of their plagues. 
^7 Z^orj springs from another source : or if 
from thiB, by contrast only, — for I, the bishop, 
am the brother of your employers, Ugo. 1 
hope to repair some of their wrong, however ; 
so far am my brother's ill-gotten treasure reverts 
to me, I can stop the consequences of his crime : 
and not one wolao shall escape me. Maffeo, the 
sword we ouiet men spurn away, you shrewd 
koaves pick up and conmiit murders with ; 
what opportumties the virtuous forego, the 
rillanous seize. Becanaej to jjleasure mjrself 
apart from^ other considerations, my food 
would be millet-i!ake, my dress sackdoth, and 
my couch straw, — am I therefore to let you, 
the aS-teojtiiag of the earth, seduce the poor 
and ignorant By M>propriating a pomp tnese 
will be sure to think lessens tne abominations 
10 nnaeooontably and exclusively associated 
with it? Must I let viUas and poderi go to 
nm, a mnrderer and thief, that you may^ beget 
hf means of them other murderers and thieves ? 
No — if myoough would but allow me to speak ! 

Intern, vVliat am I to expect ? Tou are go- 
ingto punish me ? 

Jfott. Must punish vou, Maffeo. I cannot af- 
ford to east away a cnance. I have whole cen- 
turies of sin to redeem, and only a month or two 
of life to do it in. How should I dare to say . . . 

hUen, " For^ve us our trespasses " ? 

Mom. My fnend, it is because I avow 
Bjself a very worm, sinful beyond measure, 
tw I rejeet a line of conduct you would 
inland perliaps. Shall I proceed, as it were. 
SrpBidomng ? — I ? — who have no symptom ox 
Kamn to assume that aught less than my stren- 
efforts will keep myself out of mortal 
nmch lees keep others out. No : I do 
but will not double that by allowing 
ym to trenMiSS. 

iaCea. And suppose the villas are not your 
bradwr's to give, nor yours to take ? Oh, you 
se hasty enough just now I 

Ifin. 1, 2 — N^3! — ay, can you read tlie 
of a letter, N^ 3, I have received 



from Rome ? It is precisely on the ground 
there mentioned^ of the suspicion i have 
that a certain chdd of my late elder brother, 
who would have succeeded to his estates, was 
murdered in infancy by you, Maffeo, at the in- 
stigation of my late younger brother — that the 
Pontiff enjoins on me not merely the bringing 
that Maffeo to condign punishment, but the 
taking all pains, as guardian of the infant's 
heritage for the Church, to recover it parcel 
by paroel^owsoever, whensoever, and where- 
soever. While you are now gnawing those 






fingers, the police are engaged m sealing up 
your papers, Maffeo, and uie mere raising my 
voice brings my people from the next room to 
dispose of younelf . But I want you to confess 
qmetly, and save me raising my voice. Why^, 
man, do I not know the old story ? The heir 
between Uie succeeding heir, and this heir's 
rufiSanly instrument, and their complot's ef- 
fect, and the life of fear and bribes and omi- 
nous smiling silence ? Did you throttle or stab 
my brother^s infant ? Gome now I 

Inten. So old a story, and tell it no bettor ? 
When did such an instrument ever produce 
such an effect ? Either the child smiles in his 
face; or, most likely, he is not fool enough 
to put himself in the employer's power so 
thoroughly : the child is always ready to pro- 
duce — as you say — howsoever, wheresoever, 
and whensoever. 

3fon. Liar I 

Inten. Strike me? Ah, so might a father 
chastise! I shall sleep soundly to-night at 
least, though the gallows await me to-morrow ; 
for what a life didf I lead I Carlo of Cessna re- 
minds me of his connivance, every time I pay 
his annuity J which happens commonlv thrice a 
year. If I remonstrate, he will confess all to 
the good bishop — you I 

3fon. I see through the trick, caitiff ! I 
would you spoke truth for once. All shall be 
sifted, however — seven times sifted. 

Inten. And how my absurd riches encum- 
bered me I I dared not lay claim to above half 
my possessions. Let me but once unbosom 
mv^elf , glorify Heaven, and die I 

Sir, you are no brutal dastardly idiot like 
your brother I frightened to death : let us 
understand one another. Sir, I will make 
away with her for you — the girl — here dose 
at hand ; not the stupid obvious kind of kill- 
ing ; do not speak — know nothing of her nor 
of me! I see her every day — saw her this 
moming_: of course there is to be no killing ; 
but at Ilome the courtesans perish off every 
three years, and I can entice her thither — have 
indeed begun operations already. There's a 
certain lusty • blue-eyed florio-complexioned 
English knave, I and die Police employ occsr 
sionally. Tou assent, I perceive — no, that 's 
not it — assent I do not say — but you will let 
me convert my jpresent havings and holdingR 
into cash, and give me time to cross the Alps ? 
'Tis but a little black-eyed pretty singing Fe- 
lippa, fiTAy silk-winding girl. I have kept her 
out of harm's way up to this present; for I 
always intended to make your life a ph^e to 



144 



PIPPA PASSES 



Toa with her. 'T is as well settled once and 
lorever. Some women I have proonred will 
pass Bluphocks, mv handsome sooundrel, off 
for somehody ; and onoe Pip^a entangrled 1 — 
von oonoeive? Throngrh her amging ? Is it a 
EMurgain? 

IFrotn vrithout it heard the voice of Fippa, tinging — 

Overhead the tree-tops meet. 
Flowers and grass spring *neath one'^sfeet; 
There was naught ahove me, naught beUtw, 
My childhood had noi learned to know : 
For. what are the voices of birds 
— Ay, and of beasts, — but words, owr words. 
Only so much more sweet f 
The knowledge of thai with my life begun. 
But I had so near made out the sun. 
And counted your stars, the seven and one. 
Like the, fingers <^ my hand : 
Nay, I could all but understand 
Wher^ore through heaven the white moon ran- 
ges; 
And just when out qf her sqftJUty changes 
No unfamiliar face might overlock me — 

Suddenly God took me. 

[PippA pattet. 

Mon, [Sprinpng up.] My people — one and 
all — all — within there I (Mg this villain — 
tie him hand and foot ! He dares ... I know 
not half he dares 7- hnt remove him — quick! 
Miserere mei, Domine ! Qnick, I say ! 

PxrpA*B Chamber again. She eniert ii. 

The bee with his oomb. 

The mouse at her dr^y, 

The grab in lus tomb, 

WhiM winter away : 

Bnt the fire-fly and hedge-shrew and lob-worm. 



How fare they ? 



I pray, 
they 
Ha. ha, thanks for yonr connsel, my Zanze ! 
*' Feast npon lampreys, quaff Breganze '' — 
The summer of life so easy to si>end, 
And eare for to-morrow so soon put away ! 
But winter hastens at summer's end. 
And fire-fly, hedge-shrew, lob-worm, pray. 
How fare they ? 

No bidding me then to . . . what did Zanze say ? 
** Pare your nails pearlwise, get your small feet 

shoes 
More like "... (what said she ?) — ** and less 

Kke canoes ! " 
How pert that girl was ! — would I be those pert 
Impudent staring women ! ^ It had done me, 
However, surely no such mighty hurt ^ 
To learn his name who paased that jest upon 

me: 
No foreigner, that I can recollect. 
Came, as she says, a month since, to inspect 
Our silk-mills — none with blue eyes and thick 

rings 
Of raw-suk-colored hair, at all events. 
Well, if old Luca keep lus good intents, 
We snail do better, see what next year brings I 
I may huy^ shoes, my Zanze, not appear 
More destitute tnan you perhaps next year 1 
Bluph . . . something ! I had caught the un- 
couth name 



But for Monsignor's peo|>le's sudden clatter 

Above us —bound to spoil such idle chatter 

As ours : it were indeed a serious matter 

If siU^ talk like ours should i>ut to shame 

The pious man, the man devoid of blame, i 

The ... ah but — ah but, all the same. 

No mere mortal has a right 

To carry tJiat exalted air ; 

Best people are not angels quite : 

While — not the worst of people's doings scare 

The devil ; so there 's that proud look to spare! 

Which is mere counsel to myself, mind I for 
I have just been the holjr Monsignor : 
And I was you tooj Luigi's gentle mother. 
And you too, Luigi ! — how that Luigi started 
Out of the turret — doubtlessly departed 
On some good errand or anotiier, 
For he passed just now in a traveller's trim. 
And the sullen company that prowled 
About his path, I noticed, scowled 
As if they nad lost a prey in him. 
And I was Jules the acidptor's bride. 
And I was Ottima beside. 
And now what am I ? — tired of fooling. 
Day for folly, ni^ht for schooling ! 
New year 's day is over and spent, 
111 or well, I must be content. / 

Even my lily 's asleep, I vow 4 
Wake up — here 's a fnend I've plucked yon ! 
Call this flower a heart's-ease now ! 
Something rare, let me instruct you, 
Is this, with petals triply swollen. 
Three times spotted, tibrice the pollen ; 
While the leaves and parts that witness 
Old proportions and their fitness, 
Here remain unchanged, unmoved now ; 
Call this pampered thing improved now ! 
Suppose tnere 's a kin^ of the flowers 
Ana a girl-show held m his bowers — 
** Look ye, buds, this growth of ours," 
Says he, ** Zanze from the Brenta, 
I have made her gorge polenta 
Till both cheeks are near as bouncing 
As her . . . name there 's no pronouncing ! 
See this heightened color too. 
For she swilled Breganze wine 
Till her nose turnea deep carmine ; 
'T was but white when wild she grew. 
And only by this Zanze's eyes 
Of which we could not change the size, 
The magnitude of all achieved 
Otherwise, may be perceived." 

Oh what a drear dark close to m^ poor dxv I 
How could diat red sun drop in ti&at black 

cloud ? 
Ah Pippa, morning's rule is moved away 
Dispensed with, never more to be allowed ! 
Day 'a turn lb over, now arrives the night's. 
Oh lark, be dav'a apostle 
To mavis, merle and thi«stle. 
Bid them their betters jostle 
From daj^ and its delights I 
But at night, brother owlet, over the woods. 
Toll the world to thy chantnr ; 
Sine to the bats' sleek sisteraoods 
Full complines with gallantry : 
Then, owls and bats, 



KING .VICTOR AND KING CHARLES 



H5 



Cowls and twats, ^ 

Monks And nims, in a oloister^s moods, 

Adjourn to the oaJc-stmnp pantry 1 

^ [After the ha» begun to undreu heraelf. 
Now, one thing I should like to really know : 
How near I ever might approach all these 
I only fancied being, this long day : 
— Approach, I mean, so as to touch them, so 
As to ... in some way . . . move them — if 

you please. 
Do good or CTil to them some slight way. 
For instance, if I wind 
vSlk to-morrow, my silk may bind 

[SiUmg on the bedside. 



And border Ottima^s cloak's hem. 

Ah me, and my important part with them, 

This morning 8 hymn half promised when I 

rose I 
True in some sense or other, I suppose. 

[As she lies down, 

God bless me I I can pray no more to-night. 
No doubt, some way or other, hymns say 
right. 






All service ranks the same with God — 
With God. whose puppets, best and worst, 
Are we ; there is no last nor first. 

[She sleeps. 



/ 



J 



KING VICTOR AND KING CHARLES 



A TRAGEDY 



This was No. II. of Bells and Pomegranates 
and was issued in 1842, though it appears to 
liaTe been written before the publication of 
Pippa Passes. The following is the adyertise- 
ment prefixed to the tragedy when first pub- 
lished and always afterward retained. 



««( 



^So far as I know, this tragedy is the first ar- 
tisde eonsequence of what Voltaire termed * a 
terrible erent without consequences ; * and al- 
though it professes to be historical, I have taken 
more pains to arrive at the history than most 
readers would thank me for particularizing: 
sinee acquainted, as I will hope them to be, with 
the diief eirenmstances of Victor's remarkable 
European career — nor quite ignorant of the sad 
sad suprising facts I am about to reproduce (a 
tolerable account of which is to be found, for 
i ns t a nc e , in Abbe Roman's B4cit, or even the 
fifth of Lord Orrery's Letters from Italy) — I 
cannot expect them to be versed, nor desirous 



of becoming so, in all the detail of the memoirs, 
correspondence, and relations of the time. 
From these only may be obtained a knowledge 
of the fiery and andacious temper, unscrupu- 
lous selfishness, profound dissimulation, and 
HJngnlar fertility in resources, of Victor — the 
extreme and painful sensibility, prolonged im- 
maturity of powers, earnest good purpose and 
vacillating will of Charles — the noble and right 
woman's manliness of his wife — and the ill- 
considered rascality and subsequent better- 
advised rectitude of D'Ormea. When I say, 
therefore, that I cannot but believe my state- 
ment (combining as it does what appears cor- 
rect in Voltaire and plausible in Condorcet) 
more true to person and thing than any it has 
hitherto been my fortune to meet with, no 
doubt my word will be taken, and my evidence 
spared as readily. R. B." 

LoHDOxr, 1842. 



PERSONS 

Vktob Amadvub, first King of Sardinia. 
CsAsiia SMASxna., his aon. Prince of Piedmont. 
PoLVzsHA, wife of Charles. 
D'Okhsa, minister. 



FIRST YEAR, 1730. — KING VICTOR 

PART I 

— V^ CouncU Chamber of Rivoli Palace, near 

eomfiwnicating vfith a Hall at the back, an 

to the UJt, and another to the right of the 



Tub, 1730-31. 

Chaxlbs, Poltzbta. 

CZor/ei. You think so? Well, I do not. 



Polyxena. My beloved, 

All must clear up ; we shall be happy yet : 
This cannot last forever — oh, may change 
To-day or any day ! 

Cha. — May change ? Ah yes -«. 

May change ! 

Pol. Endure it, then. 

Cha. ^ No doubt a life 

Like this drags on, now better and now worse. 
My father may ... may take to loving me ; 
And he may take D'Ormea closer yet 
To counsel him ; — may even cast off her 
— That bad Sebastian ; but he also may 
... Or no, Polyxena, my only friend. 
He may not force you from me ? 

Pol. Now, force me 



146 



KING VICTOR AND KING CHARLES 



From yon I — me, close by yon as if there 

poomed 
No Sebastians, no D'Qrmeas on our path — 
At Rivoli or Tniin, slill at hand, 
Arch-connsellor, prime confidant . . . force 

me I 
Cha. Because I felt as snre, as I feel snre 
We clasp hands now, of being happy once. 
Tonng was I, qnite neglected, nor concerned 
By the world's business that engrossed so much 
Idy father and my brother : if Ipeered 
From out my privacy, — amid the crash 
And blaze of nations, domineered diose two. 
'Twas war, peace — France our foe, now — 

England, friend — 
In love with Spain — at feud indth Austria! 

Well- 
I wondered, laughed a mementos laugh for pride 
In the chiyalrous couple, then let drop 
My curtain — "I am out of it," I said — 
When . . . 
Pol. You have told me, Charles. 

Cha. Polyxena — 

When suddenly, — a warm March day, just 

that I 
Just so much sunshine as the cottage child 
Basks in delighted, while the cotts^r 
Takes off his bonnet, as he ceases work. 
To catch the more of it — and it must fall 
Heavily on m^ brother ! Had you seen 
Philip — the lion-featured ! not like me ! 
Pol. I know — 

Cha. And Philip's mouth yet fast to mine. 
His dead cheek on my cheek, his arm still 

round 
My neck, — they bade me rise, " for I was heir 
To the Duke," they said, *^the right hand of 

the Duke : " 
Till then he was my father, not the Duke. 
So ... let me finish . . . the whole intricate 
WoridVbusiness their dead boy was bom to, I 
Must conquer, — ay. the brilliant thing he was 
I of a sudden must oe : my faults, my follies, 
— All bitter truths were told me, all at once, 
To end the sooner. What I simply styled 
Their overlooking me, had been contempt : 
How should the Duke employ himself, forsooth. 
With such an one, while lordlv Philip rode 
By him their Turin through? But he was 

punished. 
And must put up with — me I 'T was sad 

enough 
To learn mv future portion and submit. 
And then tne wear and worry, blame on blame ! 
For, spring-sounds in my ears, spring-smells 

about. 
How could I but grow dizzy in their pent 
Dim palace-rooms at first ? My mother's look 
As they discussed my insignificance. 
She and my father, and I sitting by, — 
I bore ; I knew how brave a son they missed ; 
Philip had gayly run state-papers through. 
While Chanes was spelling at them painfully ! 
But Victor was my father spite of that. 
" Duke Victor's entire life has been," I said, 
*^ Innumerable efforts to one end ; 
And on the point now of that end's success. 
Our Ducal turning to a Kingly crown. 



Where 's time to be reminded 't is his child 
He spurns?" And so I suffered— soaicely 

suffered, 
Since I had you at length I 

Pol. To serve in pUoe 

Of monarch, minister and mistress, Chanee 1 

Cha. But, once that crown obtained, then 
was 't not like 
Our lot would alter? ** When he rests, takes 

breath, 
Glances around, sees who there 's left to love— 
Now tJiat my mother's dead, sees I am left— 
Is it not like he '11 love me at tiie last ? " 
Well, Savoy turns Sardinia ; the Duke 's King: 
Could I — precisely then — could you expect 
His harshness to redouble ? These few months 
Have been . . . have been . . . Polyxena, do 700 
And God conduct me, or I lose myself I 
What would he have ? What is 't they waot 

with me ? 
Him with this mistress and this minister. 
— You see me and you hear him; judge vs 

both I 
Pronounce what I should do, Polyxena ! 

Pol. Endure, endure, beloved! Say you 
not 
He is your father ? All 's so incident 
To novel sway ! Beside, our life must chaiKe: 
Or you '11 acquire his kingcraft, or he 11 find 
Harshness a sorry way of teaching it. 
I bear this — not that there 's so much to bear. 

Cha. You bear? Do not I know that yon, 
though bound 
To silence for my sake, are perishing 
Piecemeal beside me ? Ana how otnervise 
When every creephole from the hideous Court 
Is stopped ; the Minister to dog me. here — 
The Mistress posted to entrap you. there ! 
And thus shall we grow old m sucn a life : 
Not careless, never estruiged, — but old: t9 

alter 
Our life, there is so much to alter I 

Pol. Corne- 

ls it agreed that we forcTO complaint 
Even at Turin, yet complain we here 
At Rivoli ? 'T were wiser you announced 
Our presence to the King. What 's now afoot 
I wonder ? Not that any more 's to dread 
Hian every day's embarrassment : but f^aian 
For me. why train so fast succeeded tram 
On the high-road, each gayer still than each I 
I noticed your Archbishop's pursuivant. 
The sable cloak and silver cross ; such pomp 
Bodes . . . what now, Charles ? Can you con- 
ceive? 

Cha. Not I. 

P(d. A matter of some moment — 

Cha. There 'sour life! 

Which of the group of loiterers that stare 
From the lime-avenue, divines that I — 
About to figure presently, he thinks. 
In face of all assembled — am the one * 
Who knows precisely least about it ? 

Pol. Tushl 

D'Ormea's contrivance I 

Cha. Ay, how otherwise 

Should the young Prince serve for the old King^ 
foil? 




KING VICTOR AND KING CHARLES 



147 




—So that th^ simplest courtier may remark 
Twere idle nusinsr parties for a ^noe 

ie oonrt's laughing-stook. 
about that weary businees 
[Pointing to papers he haa laid down, and which 
F«a.TXBHA examinet. 

—Not that I oomprehend three words, of oouise, 

After all last nignt's study. 
?d. The faint heart! 

Why, as we rode and yon rehearsed jnst now 

Ita anbstanoe . . . (that 's the folded speech I 
mean, 

GoiMfinung the Rednctian of the Fiefs) 

—What woold yon have? — I fancied while 
jtm spoke, 

Some tones were jnst yonr father's. 
Cik Flattery I 

Po/. I &ncied so: — and here Inrka, sure 



My note upon the Spanish Claims ! Ton Ve 

mastered 
IIm fief;«peeeh thoroughly : this other, mind, 
Ii an opinion von deliver, — stay. 
Bat lead it slowly over once to me ; ^ 
Kead —there 's bare time ; you read it firmly — 

kmd 
—Bather load, looking in his face, — douH sink 
Yoor eye once y- ay, thus ! *'*' If Spain claims " 

... begin 
— Jnat as you look at me ! 

C*a. At yon I Oh truly, 

log have I seen, say, marshalling your troops, 
%Bunine councils, or, through doors ajar. 
Head sank on hand, devoured bv slow chagrins 
~i^ radiant, for a crown had all at once 
^|aned possible again I I can behold ^ 
Him, whose least whisper ties my spirit fast, 
hi thii sweet brow, naught could divert me from 
Sare objects like Sebasdan^s shameless lip. 
Or worse, the clipped gray hair and dead white 

Aaddwindling eye as if it ached with guile, 
i)X)nnea wears . . . 

(Ji ie hms Aer, enier from the Kxiio'a apartment 
D'Obmxa.) 

, I said he would divert 

My kisRCfl from your brow I 
^Ormea, [Ande.] Here! So, King Victor 
opoke truth for once : uid who 's ordained, 

bntl 
To make that memorable ? Both in call, 
^hededaied! Were 't better gnash the teeth, 
wUngh outright now ? 
C»a. [to P0L.J What *8 his visit for ? 

1^0, [Aside,} I question if they even speak 

to me. 
^d, [to Cha.1 Face the man ! He ^11 sup- 

. P^2pQ ^^^^ ^^^ ®^* 
[Ama,] The Marquis bears the King*s com- 
mand, no doubt ? 

^0. [Ande.] Precisely ! — K I threatened 
-ag „ ™>i perhaps ? 

jjcfl, this at least is punishment enough ! 
MnnKd to promise punishment would come. 

^. Deliver the King^s message. Marquis ! 



^^0. [Aside.} 

00 amiMH. for fog fate? [AUmd.] A word. 



my Prince, 



Before you see your father — just one word 
Of oounBell 

Cha. Oh, your counsel certainly ! 
Polvxena, the Marquis counsels us ! 
Well, sir ? Be brief, however ! 

D'O. What? You know 

As much as I ? — preceded me, most like. 
In knowledge I So ! ('T is in his eye, beside — 
His voice : he knows it, and his heart 's on flame 
Already I) You surmise why you, myself, 
Del Borgo, Spava, fifty nobles more. 
Are summoned thus ? 

Cha, Is the Prince used to know. 

At any time, the pleasure of the King, 
Before his minister ? — Polyxena, 
Stay here till I conclude my task : I feel 
Your presence (smile not) through the walls, 

and take 
Fresh heart. The King 's within that chamber ? 

jD^O. [Passiruf the table whereon a paper lies^ 
exdaijM, as he glances at it] Spain ! '' 

Pol, [Aside to Cha.] Tarry awhile : what 
alls the minister ? 

JD'O. Madam, I do not often trouble you. 
The Prince loathes, and yon scorn me — let that 

pass! 
But since it touches him and you, not me. 
Bid the Prince listen I 

Pol [to ChaJ Surely you will listen : 

— Deceit ? — Those fingers crumpling up his 

vest? 

Cha, Deceitful to the verv fingers* ends ! 

D'O. [who has approached them, overlooks the 
cdier paper Charles continues to hold]. 
My project for the Fiefs I As I supposed ! 
Sir, 1 must p^ve you light upon those measures 
— ^^For this is mine, and that I spied of Spain, 
Mine too I 

Cha. ^ Release me I Do von gloze on me 
Who bear in the world^s face (tJiat is, the world 
Yon make for me at Turin) your contempt ? 

— Your measures ? — When was not a hateful 

task ^ 
D'Ormea's imposition ? Leave my robe ! 
What post can I bestow, what grant concede ? 
Or do you take me for the King ? 

D'O. Not 1 1 

Not yet for King, — not for, as yet, thank God, 
One who in . . . shall I say a year, a month ? 
Ay !^ — shall be wretcheder than e*er was slave 
In his Sardinia, — Europe's spectacle 
And the world's by-word I What ? The Prince 

aggrieved 
That I excluded him our counsels ? Here 

[ Touching the paper in Chables's hand. 

Accept a method of extorting gold 

From Savoy 's nobles, who must wring its worth 

In silver first from tillers of the soil. 

Whose hinds again have to contribute brass ^ 

To make up the amount : there 's counsel, nr. 

My counsel, one year old ; and the fruit, this — 

Savoy 's become a mass of misery 

And wrath, which one man has to meet — the 

King : 
You *re not the King I^ Another counsel, sir I 
Sp ain entertains a project (here it lies) 
Which, i^ueased, makes Austria offer that same 



148 



KING VICTOR AND KING CHARLES 



Thus much to baffle Spain : he promises ; 
Then comes Spain, breathless lest she be fore- 
stalled. 
Her oifer follows ; and he promises . . . 

Cha, — Promises, sir, when he has just agreed 
To Austria 's offer ? 

D*0. That 's a counsel, Prince ! 

But past our foresight, Spain and Austria 

(choosing 
To make their quarrel up between themaelyes 
Without the intervention of a friend) 
Produce both treaties, and both promises . . . 

Cha, How? 

D^O, Prince, a counsel ! And the fruit of 
that? 
Both parties covenant afresh, to fall 
Together on their friend, blot out his name, 
Abolish him from Europe. So, take note, 
Here^s Austria and here^s Spain to fight 

against. 
And what sustains the King but Savov here, 
A miserable people mad with wrongs r 
Tou 're not tne Aing I 

Cha, Polyxena, you said 

All would clear up : all does clear up to me. 

D^O. Clear up! 'T is no sucn thing to 
envy, then ? 
Ton see the King^s state in its length and 

breadth ? 
Tou blame me now for keeping you aloof 
From counsels and the fruit of counsels ? Wait 
Till I explain this morning 's business ! 

Cka. yAside.^ No — 

Stoop to my father, yes, — D'Omiea, no ; 

— The King's son, not to the King 's counsel- 

lor ! , 

I will do something, but at least retain 
The credit of my deed I [Aloud.'\ Then it is 

this 
Tou now expressly come to tell me ? 

D'O, This 

To tell I Tou apprehend me ? 

Cha. Perfectly. 

Further, D 'Ormea, you have shown yourself. 
For the first time these many weeks and 

months. 
Disposed to do my bidding ? 
D'O. From the heart I 

Cha, Acquaint my father, first, I wait his 
pleasure : 
Next ... or, I '11 1^ you at a fitter time. 
Acquaint the King I 

D' O. [Aside.^ If I 'scape Victor yet I 
First, to prevent this stroke at me : if not, — 
Then, to avenge it! [To Cha. J Gracious sir, 
I go. IGoes. 

Cha. God, I forbore I Which more offends, 
that man 
Or that man's master ? Is it come to this ? 
Have they supposed (the sharpest insult yet) 
I needed e'en his intervention ? No ! 
No — dull am I, conceded, — but so dull. 
Scarcely ! Their step decides me. 
Fol. How decides ? 

Cha. Tou would be freed D'Ormea's eye 
and hers ? 

— Could fi^ the court with me and live content ? 
So, this it IS for which the knights assemble I 



The whispers and the closeting of late, 
Tlie savageness and insolence of old, 
— Forthwl 

Pol. What mean you ? 

Cha. How? Tou f ail to catdi 

Their clever plot ? I missed it, but could you ? 
These last two months of care to inculcate 
How dull I am, — D'Ormea's present visit 
To prove that, being dull, I might be worse 
Were I a King — as wretched as now dull — 
Tou recognize in it no winding up 
Of a long plot? 

Pol. Why should there be a plot ? 

Cha. The crown's secure now; I should 
shame the crown — 
An old complaint ; the point is, how to gain 
M^ place for one more nt in Victor's eyes. 
His nustress the Sebastian's child. 

Pd. Intmth? 

Cha. They dare not quite dethrone Sardi- 
nia's Prince : 
But the^ may descant on my dulness till 
They sting me into even prajring them 
Grant leave to hide my head, resign my state. 
And end the coil. Not see now ? In a word, 
They 'd have me tender them myself my rights 
As one incapable ; — some cause for that. 
Since I delated thus long to see their drift ! 
I shall apprise the King ne may resume 
My rights this moment. 

Pol. Pause ! I dare not think 

So ill of Victor. 

Cha. Think no ill of him ! 

Pol. — Nor think him, then, so shallow as to 
suffer 
His purpose be divined thus easily. 
And yet — you are the last of a great line ; 
There 's a great heritage at stake ; new daya 
Seemed to await this newest of the realms 
Of Europe : — Charles, you must withstand 
this! 

Cha. Ah ! 

Tou dare not then renounce the splendid oonrt 
For one whom all the world despises ? Speak 1 

Pol. My gentle husband, speak I will, and 
truth. 
Were this as you believe, and I once sure 
Tour duty lay in so renouncing rule, 
I could . . . could? Oh what happin 



it 



were 



To live, my Charles, and die, alone with yon ! 

Cha. I grieve I asked you. To the pres- 
ence^then I 
By this, D'Ormea acquaints the Kin^, no 

doubt, 
He fears I am too simple for mere hints. 
And that no less will serve than Victor's montli 
Demonstrating in council what I am. 
I have not breathed, I think^ these many years ! 

Pd. Why, it may be ! — if he desire to wed 
That woniui, call legitimate her child. 

Cha. Tou see as much? Oh, let his will 
have way I 
Tou '11 not repent confiding in me, love ? 
There 's many a brighter spot in Piedmont, fiar. 
Than Rivoli. I 'U seek him : or, suppose 
Tou hear first how I mean to speak my nkind ? 
Loudly and firmly botli, this time, be sore ! 




KING VICTOR AND KING CHARLES 



149 



I yet may see your Rhine-land, who can tell ? 
Onee away, ever then away 1 I breathe. 

Pol, And I too breathe. 

Cha, Come, my Polyxena I 



KING VICTOR 

PART II 

Alter Knro Victob, betning the regalia on a euMkUm, 
from kit apartment. He eaiU loudly — 

D^Ormea I — for patience fails me, treading thus 
Amoar Uie obeeore trains I have laid, — my 

knights 
Safe in the hall here — in that anteroom, 
My son, — D 'Ormea, where ? Of this, one 

toraeh — [Laying down the crovon. 

Tins fireball to these mute black cold trains — 

then 
Oatbreak enough ! 

IComemplafing it.] To lose all, after all ! 
This, glancing o*er my house forages — shaped, 
BrsTe meteor, like tne crown of Cyprus now, 
Jerusalem, Spain, England, every cliange 
Tlie braver, — and when I have clutched a 

prize 
My anowtry died wan with watching for. 
To lose it I — by a slip, a fault, a trick 
Leanit to advantage once and not unlearned 
When paat the use, — *' just this once more '' (I 

tbooght) 
"'Use it with Spain and Austria happily, 
And then awaj with trick ! " An oversight 
I 'd hare repaired thrice over, any time 
These fifty years, must happen now I There 's 



At length ; and Ij to make the most of peace, 

Ventored my project on our people here, 

Ai needing not their help: which £uro];>e 

knows. 
And means, oold-blooded, to dispose herself 
(Apart from plausibilities of war) 
To emsh the new-made King — who ne'er till 

norw 
Feared her. As Duke, I lost each foot of earth 
And langhed at her: my name was left, my 

sword 
Left, all was left! But she can take, she 

knows, 
TTtis crown, herself conceded . . . 

That's to try. 
Kind Europe I — My career's not closed as 

yet, 

TfaiB boy was ever subject to my will, 

Tmud ttod tame — the fitter ! — D'Ormea, too 

Wkat if the sovereign also rid himself 

Of thee, his prime of parasites ? I delay ! 

I>"0rmi! 

(As D'OSHBA enters f the King teals himself.) 

My son, the Prince — attends he ? 
irO, Sir, 

He does attend. The crown prepared I — it 



That yoB pecsist in your resolve. 

Vietar. Who's come? 

Tlie dtanoellar and the chamberlain? My 
kni^ts? 



D^O. The whole Annunziata. If, my liege. 
Your fortune had not tottered worse tmin 
now . . . 

Vic. Del Borgo has drawn up the schedules ? 
mine — 
Mv son's, too ? Excellent ! Only, beware 
Oi the least blunder, or we look but fools. 
First, you read the Annulment of the Oaths ; 
Del Borgo follows . . . no, the Prince ahaM sign ; 
Then let Del Borgo read the Instrument : 
On which, I enter. 

D^O. Sir, this may be truth : 

You, sir, may do as you affect — may break 
Your engine, me, to pieces : try at least 
If not a spring remam worth saving ! Take 
My counsel as I 've counselled many times ! 
What if the Spaniard and the Austrian threat ? 
There 's England, Holland, Venice — which ally 
Select you ? 

Vic. Aha I Come, D'Ormea, — " truth " 

Was on your lip a minute since. Allies ? 
I 've broken faith with Venice, Holland, Eng^ 
land 

— As who knows if not yon ? 

D^O. But why with me 

Break faith — with one ally, your best, break 
. faith? 

Vic. When first I stumbled on you. Marquis 
— 't was 
At Mondovi — a little lawyer's clerk . . . 

D^O. Therefore your soul's ally I — who 
brought ^ou through 
Your <|uarrel with the Pope, at pains enough — 
Who smiply echoed you in these affairs — 
On whom you cannot therefore visit these 
Affairs' ill fortune — whom you trust to guide 
You safe (yes, on my soul) through these affairs ! 

Vic. I was about to notice, had you not 
Prevented me, that since that great town kept 
With its chicane D'Ormea's satchel stuffed 
And D'Ormea's self sufficiently recluse. 
He missed a sight, — my naval armament 
When I burned Toulon. How the skiff exults 
Upon the galliot's wave I — rises its he^ht, 

ertops it even ; but the great wave bursts, 
And hell-deep in the horrible profound 
Buries itself the galliot : shall the skiff^ 
Think to escape the sea's black trough in turn ? 
Apply this : you have been my minister 

— Next me, above me possibly ; — sad post. 
Huge care, abundant lack of peace of minci ; 
Who would desiderate the eminence ? 

You gave your soul to get it ; you 'd vet give 
Your soul to keep it, as I mean you shall, 
D'Ormea ! What if the wave ebbed with me ? 
Whereas it cants you to another crest : 

1 toss you to my son ; ride out your riae I 
D''0. Ah, you so much despise me ? 

Vic. You, D'Chrmea ? 

Nowise : and I '11 inform you why. A king 
Must in his time have many ministers, 
And I 've been rash enough to part with mine 
When I thought proper. Of the tribe, not one 
( ... Or wait, did Pianezze ? . . . ah, just the 

same !) 
Not one of them, ere his remonstrance reached 
The length of youra, but has assured me (com- 
monly 



150 



KING VICTOR AND KIJ^G CHARLES 



StandinfiT mudi as you stand, — or nearer, say. 
The door to make nis exit on his speech) 
— I should repent of what I did. D'Ormea, 
Be candid, you approached it when I bade you 
Prepare the schedules! But you stopped in 

time. 
Ton have not so assured me : how should I 
Despise you then ? 

{Enter Chabxjcs.) 

Vic, [Changing his tone,] Are you instructed? 
Do 
My order, point by point I About it, sir I 
2>'0. You 80 despise me ! [Aside,] One last 
stay remains — 
The boy ^s discretion there. 

[To Cha.] For your sake, Prince, 
I pleaded, wholly m your interest, 
To save you from this fate I 

Cha, (Aside,] Must I be told 

The Prince was supplicated for — by him ? 
Vic, [To D'O,] Apprise Del Borgo, Spava, 
ana the rest. 
Our son attends them ; then return. 
D'O, ^ One word I 

Cha, [Aside,] A mementos pause and they 
would driye me hence, 
I do believe I 
D\0. [Aside.] Let but the boy be firm I 
Vic, Xou disobey ? 

Cha. [ToL'O.] You do not disobev 

Me, at least. Did you promise that or no ? 
1)^0. Sir, I am yours: what would you? 

Yours am 1 1 
Cha, When I have said what I shall say, 
'tis like 
Your face will ne^er again disgust me. Go ! 
Through you, as through a breast of glass, I see. 
And for your conduct, from mj youui till now. 
Take my contempt I You might have spared 

me much, 
Secured me somewhat, nor so harmed yourself : 
That *s over now. Oo, ne'er to come again I 

D^O, As son, the faliier — father, as the son ! 
My wits !^ My wits ! [Goes. 

Vic. [Seated,] And you, what meant you, 
pray, 
Speakmg thus to D'Ormea ? 

Cha, Let us not 

Waste words upon D'Ormea ! Those I spent 
Have half unsettled what I came to say. 
His presence vexes to my very soul. 

Vie, Oiie called to manage axingdom, Charles, 
needs heart 
To bear up under worse annoyances 
Than seems D'Ormea — to me, at least. 

Cha. [Aside.] Ah, good ! 

He keeps me to the point I Then be it so. 
[Aloud.] Last night, sir, brought me certain 

papers — these — 
To^ be reported on, — your way of late. 
Is it last night's result that you demand ? 
Vic. For God's sake, what has night brought 
forth ? Pronounce 
The . . , what 's your word ? — result I 

Cha, Sir, that had proved 

Quite worthy of your sneer, no doubt : — a few 
Lame thoughts, regard for you alone could 
wring. 



Lame as they are, from brains like mine, be- 

liCTC I 

As H is, sir, I am spared both toil and sneer. 
These are the papers. 

Vic. Well, sir? I suppose 

You hardly burned them. Now for your result ! 

Cha, I never should have done great things, 
of course, 
But ... oh my father, had you loved me more ! 

Vic, LoYed ? [Aside,] Has D'Ormea played 
me false, I wonder? 
[Aloud,] Why, Charles, a king's love is difihised 

— yourself 
May overlook, perchance, your part in it. 
Our monarchy is absolutest now 
In Europe, or my trouble 's thrown away. 
I love, my mode, that subjects each and all 
May^ have the power of loving, all and each. 
Their mode : I doubt not, many have their son 
To trifle with, talk soft to, all day long : 
I have that crown, this chair, D'Onnea, Charles ! 

Cha. 'T IB well I am a subject then, not yoa. 

Vic. [Aside,] D'Ormea has told him every- 
thing. [Aloud,] Aha, 
I apprehend you :^ when all 's said, you take 
Your private station to be prized beyond 
My own, for instance ? 

Cha. ^ — Do and ever did 

So take it : 'tis the method you pursue 
That grieves . . . 

Vic. These words! Let me express, my 
friend. 
Your thoughts. You penetrate what I supposed 
Secret. D'Ormea plies his trade betimes I 
I purpose to resign my crown to yon. 

Cha. Tome? 

Vic. Now, — in that chamber, 

Cha. You resign 

The crown to me ? 

Vic. And time enough, Charles, snie f 

Confess vrith me, at four^and-sixty years 
A crown 's a load. I covet quiet once 
Before I die, and summoned you for that. 

Cha. 'T is I will soeak : you ever hated me. 
I bore it, — have insulted me. borne too — 
Now you insult vourself ; ana I remember 
What I believed you , wh at you really are. 
And cannot bear it. What I My life has passed 
Under your eye, tormented as you know, — 
Your whole sagacities, one after one. 
At leisure brought to play on me — to prove me 
A fool, I thought and I submitted ; now 
Yon 'd prove . . . what would you prove me? 

Vic. This to me? 

I hardly know you ! 

Cha. Know me ? Oh indeed 

You do not ! Wait till I complain next time 
Of my simplicity I — for here s a sage 
Knows the world well, is not to be deceived. 
And his experience and his Macchiavels, 
D'Ormeas, teach him — what ? — that I this 

while 
Have envied him his crown I He has not smiled, 
I warrant, — has not eaten, drunk, nor slept. 
For I was plotting with my Princess yonder I 
Who knows what we might do or minit not do ? 
Go now, be politic, astound the worla I 
That sentry in the antechamber — nay. 



KING VICTOR AND KING CHARLES 



'5' 



ir' 



The yailet who disposed this precious trap 

iPointing to the erown. 

That was to take me — ask them if they think 
Their own sons enyy them their posts ! — Know 
me I 

Vk, Bnt vott know me, it seems : so, learn, 
in brief, 
My pleasure. This assembly is convened . . . 

Cka, Tell me, that woman pnt it in yonr 
headi 
Ton were not sole contriver of the scheme, 
Mt father ! 

Vic. Now observe me, sir ! I jest 

Seldom — on these points, never. Here, I say, 
The knigrhts assemble to see me concede, 
And yon accept, Sardinia's crown. 

da, FareweU 1 

Tirere vain to hope to change this: I canendit. 
Not that I cease from being yonrs, when sunk 
Into oliecnrity : I '11 die for you, 
But not annoy you with my presence. Sir, 
Farewell! Farewell! 

{Enter D'Obuba.) 

D^O. lAsideA Ha, sure he 's changed again — 
Means not to fall into the cunning trap I 
Hwd, Victor. I shall yet escape you, Victor I 
Vic, [Suadenly placing the crown upon the 
head qf Charles.] D'Ormea, vour king I 
To Cha.] M^ son, obey me .' Charles, 

foor faUier, clearer«ighted than yourself. 
Decides it must be so. 'Faith, this looks real I 
Mv reasons after ; reason upon reason 
Alter: bnt now, obey me I Trust in me I 
By this, yoa save Sardinia, you save me I 
Why, the boy swoons I [To D'O.] Come this 
side! 
D^O, [As Chables turns from him to Vio 

^ TOR.] Yon persist ? 
Vic. Tes, I conceive the gesture's meaning. 
'Faith, 
He almost seems to hate you : how is that ? 
Be reassuTedj my Charles I Is 't over now ? 
Then, Marquis, tell the new King what remains 
To do I A moment's work. Del Borgo reads 
llie Aet of Abdication out, you sign i^ 
Hien I sign ; after that, come bacK to me. 
-D' 0. Sir, for the last time, pause I 
Vic Five minutes longer 

I am your sovereign. Marquis. Hesitate — 
And I '11 so tarn those minutes to account 
That . . . Ay, you recollect me I [Aside,'] 

Could I bnng 
1^ foolish mind to undergo the reading 
That Aet of Abdication I 

lAs Gbaslbb motUme D^Obmka to precede him. 
Thanks, dear Charles ! 

[CiiABi.n oTui D'Obmba retire. 
Vie. A novel feature in the boy, — indeed 
Jait what I feared he wanted most. Quite 

Ills earnest tone : your truth, now for effect ! 
It aaswers every purpose : with tiiat look, 
Ihat voice, — I hear him : " I began no 

treaty,'' 
(He tpeaks to Spain,) " nor ever dreamed of 

this 
Toa show me ; this I from my soul regret ; 
Bit if my father signed it, bid not me 



Dishonor him — who gave me all, beside : " 
And, *' true," says Spain, *^ 't were harsh to 

visit that 
Upon the Prince." Then come the nobles 

trooping: 
^* I grieve at these exactions — I had cut 
This hand off ere impose them ; but shidl I 
Undo my father's deed ? " — and they confer : 
^* Doubtless he was no party, after all; 
Grive the Prince time ! ' ' 

Ay, give us time, but time I 
Only, he must not, when the dark day comes. 
Refer our friends to me and frustrate all. 
We '11 have no child's play, no despondiufi^ fits, 
No Charles at each cross turn entreating Victor 
To take his crown again. Guard against that I 

(Enter D^Obmba.) 
Long live Ejng Charles I 

No — Charles's counsellor ! 
Well, is it over, Marquis ? Did I jest ? 

D'O. "King Charles I" What then may 
you be ? 

Vic. Anything ! 

A country gentleman that, cured of bustle. 
Now beats a quick retreat toward Chambery, 
Would hunt and hawk and leave you noisy folk 
To drive your trade without him. I 'm Count 

Remont — 
Coimt Tende — any little place's Count I 

D^O. Then Victor, Captain against Catinat 
At Staffarde, where the French oeat you ; and 

Duke 
At Turin, where you beat the French; King 

late 
Of Savoy, Piedmont, Montferrat, Sardinia, 
— Now, ** any little place's Count " — 

Vic. Proceed ! 

■D' O. Breaker of vows to God, who crowned 
you first ; 
Breaker of vows to man, who kept you since ; 
Most profligate to me who outraged God 
And man to serve you, and am imuie pay crimes 
I was but privy to, by passing thus 
To your imbecile son — who, well you know, 
Must — (when the people here, and nations 

there. 
Clamor for yon the main delinquent, slipped 
From King to — " Count of any little place )" 
Must needs surrender me, all in his reach, — 
I, sir, forgive you : for I see the end — 
See you on your return — (you will return) — 
To him you trust, a moment . . . 

Vic, Trust him? How? 

My poor man, merely a prime-minister. 
Make me know where my trust errs ! 

P'O. , In his fear. 

His love, his — but discover for yourself 
What you are weakest, trusting in I 

Vic. Aha, 

D'Ormea, not a shrewder scheme than this 
In your repertory ? You know old Victor — 
Vain, choleric, inconstant, rash — (L 've heard 
Talkers who little thought the King so close) — 
Felicitous now, were 't not, to provoke him 
To clean forget, one minute afterward. 
His solemn act, and call the nobles back 
And pray them give again the very power 
He has abjured r — for the dear sake of what ? 



1 



152 



KING VICTOR AND KING CHARLES 



Ven^r^anoe on you, D'Onnea ! No : such am I, 
Count Tende or Count anvthing you please, 

— Only, the same that did the things you say, 
And, among other things you say not, used 
Tour finest fibre, meanest muscle, — ^ou 

I used, and now, since yon will have it so. 
Leave to your fate — mere lumber in the midst, 
You and your works. Why, what on earth be- 
side 
Are you made for, you sort of ministers ? 

D^O, Not left, though, to my fate I Your 
witless son 
Has more wit than to load himself with lumber : 
He foils you that way, and I follow you. 

Vic, Stay with my son — protect the weaker 
side! 

D^O. Ay, to be tossed the people like a rag, 
And flung by them for Spam and Austria s 

sport. 
Abolishing the record of your part 
In all this perfidy I 

Vic, Prevent, beside. 

My own return ! 

2>' O. That 's half prevented now I 

^T will go hard but yon find a wondrous charm 
In exile, to discredit me. The Al^, 
Silk-mills to watch, vines asking vigilance — 
Hounds open for the stag, your hawk 's 

a-wing — 
Brave days that wait the Louis of the South, 
Italy*s Janus I 

Vic. So, the lawyer's clerk 

Won't tell me that I shall repent I 

JD'O. You give me 

Full leave to ask if you reiwnt ? 

Vic. Whene'er 

Sufficient time 's elapsed for that, you judge ! 

ISfiouU inside, *' Knia Chabub I " 

D^O, Do you repent ? 
Vic, [AJter a sliaht pause,] . . . I 've kept 
them waiting 7 Yes ! 
Come in, complete the Abdication, sir! [They 

go out, 

{Enter Poltzbna.) 

PoL, A shout ! The sycophants are free of 
^ Charles! 
Oh, is not this like Italy ? No fruit 
Of his or my distempered fancy, this, 
But just an ordinary fact ! Beside, 
Here they 've set forms for such proceedings ; 

^ Victor 
Imprisoned his own mother : he shoidd know, 
If any, how a son 's to be deprived 
Of a son's right. Our duty s palnable. 
Ne'er was my husband for the wily king 
And the unworthy subjects : be it so ! 
Come you safe out of them, my Charles ! Our 

Ghrows not the broad and dazzling life, I 
dreamed 

Might prove your lot ; for strength was shut in 
you 

None guessed but I — strength which, untram- 
melled once, 

Had little shamed your vaunted ancestry — 

Patience «id self-devotion, fortitude, 

Simplicity and utter truthfulness 

— All which, they shout to lose I 



So, now my work 
Begins — to save him from regret. Save 

Charles 
Regret ? — the noble nature I He 's not made 
Like these Italians : 't is a German soul. 

(Chablbb enter* crowned.) 
Oh, where 's the King's heir? Gone:— the 

Crown-prince ? Gone : — 
Where's Savoy? Gone!— Sardinia? Gone! 

But Charles 
Is left ! And when my Rhine-land bowers ar- 
rive, 
If he looked almost handsome yester-twUight 
As his gray eyes seemed widemng into bli^k 
Because I praised him, then how will he look? 
Farewell, you stripped and whited mnlbeny- 

treee \ 

Bound each to each by lazy ropes of vine I 
Now I'll teach yon my language: I'm not 

forced 
To speak Italian now, Charles ? 
\She sees the crown,'\ What is Ihk? 

Answer me — who has done this ? Answer ! 

Cha. He! 

I am King now. 

Pol, Oh worst, worst, worst of aU ! 

Tell me ! What, Victor ? fie has made yoa 

King? 
What 's he then? What 'a to follow this? Yon. 
King? 

Cha, Have I done wrong: ? Yea, for yon were 
not bv I 

Pol. Tell me from first to last. 

Cha, Hush — a new world 

Brightens before me ; he ia moved away 
— Ine dark form that eclipsed it, he snbndes 
Into a shape supporting me like yon. 
And I, alone, tend upward, more ana more 
Tend upward : I am grown Sardinia's Kinwr. 

Pol, Now stop: was not this Victor, Z/oke 
of Savoy 
At ten years old ? 

Cha, He was. 

Pol, And the Dnke spent, 

Since then, just foup-aud-fifty years in toil 
To be — what? 

Cha, ^Kva^. 

Pol. Then why nnking himself? 

Cha, Those years are cause enough. 

Pd, The only cause ? 

Cha, Some new perplexities. 

Pol, Which yon can solve 

Although he cannot ? 

Cha, He aasnres me so. 

Pol, And this he means shall last— hov 
long ? 

Cha, How long? 

Think yon I fear the perils I oonfront? 
He 's praising me before the people's faoe — 
My people ! 

jPo/. Then he 's changed — grown kind, the 

King ? 

Where can the trap be ? 

Cha. Heart and sonl I pledge I 

My father, could I g^uard the crown yon guned. 
Transmit as I received it, — all good else 
Would I surrender ! 

Pol. Ah, it opens then 




KING VICTOR AND KING CHARLES 



153 



Before jooj all you dreaded f ormerlr ? 
. Ton are lejoicea to be a kin^i niy Charles ? 
Cka- So much to dare ? The better, — much 
todread; 
Tlie better. I 'U adventixre though alone. 
Triumph or die, there 's Victor still to witness 
Who dies or triumphs — either way, alone I 
Foi. Qnoe I had found my share in triumph, 
Charles, 
Or death. 

Cka, Bnt you are 1 1 But yon I call 
To take. Heaven's proxy, tows I tendered 

Heayen 
A moment since. I will deserve the crown I 
Poi. You will. [Aside.] No doubt it were a 
glorious thing 
For any people, if a heart like his 
Ruled oTer it. I would I saw the trap. 
{Enter Vutob.) 

Tis he must show me. 

Vic. So, the mask falls off 

An old man's foolish We at last. Spare thanks I 
I know you, and Polyxena I know. 
Here 's Charles — I am his guest now — does he 

bid me 
Be seated ? And my light-haired blue-eyed 

child 
Hmt not forget the old man far away 
At Chambery, who dozes while she reigns. 
Poi. Most grateful shall we now be, Udking 

least 
I Of gratitude — indeed of anything 
I That hindexs what yourself must need to say 
i To Charles. 

Cha, Pray speak, sir I 
Vic. 'Faith, not much to say : 

Only what shows itself, you once i' the point 
Of sight. Ton 're now the King : you 11 com- 
prehend 
Much Ton may oft have wondered at — the 

shifts, 
Disrimnlation. wiliness I showed. 
far what 's onr post ? Here 's Savoy and here 's 

Piedmont, 
Here's Montferrat — a breadth here, a space 

there — 
To o'er-sweep all these, what's one weapon 

worth? 
I often think of how they fought in Gbeeoe 
(Or Rome, which was it ? You 're the scholar, 

Charles !> 
You made a front-thrust ? But if your shield 

too 
Were not adroitly planted, some shrewd knaTc 
Reached you bemnd ; and him foiled, straight if 

thong 
And handle of that shield were not cast loose. 
And you enabled to outstrip the wind, 
Fresh foes assailed yon, either side ; 'scape these, 
Aad reach your place of refuge— e'en then, 

odds 
If die rate opened unless breath enough 
Were left in you to make its lord a speei 
CSyou will see I 

,^^. No : straight on shall I go, 

u«th helping ; win with it or die with it. 
Vie. 'Faith, Charles, you're not 

Europe's fighting^man I 



speech. 



made 



The barriei^giiarder, if yon please. Yon dutch 
Hold and consolidate, with euTious France 
This side, with Austria that, the territory 
I held — ay, and will hold . . . which you shall 

hola 
Despite the couple ! But I 'to surely earned 
Ebcemption from these weary politics, 

— The privilege to prattle with my son 

And daughter here, though Europe wait the 
whue. 

Pol, Nay, sir, — at Chambery, away f oroTcr, 
As soon you will be, 't is farewdl we bid you : 
Turn these few fleetii^ moments to account ! 
«'T is just as though it were a death. 

Vic. Indeed ! 

Pol. [Aside.'] Is the trap there ? 

Cha. Ay, call tnis parting — death ! 

The sacreder your memory becomes. 
If I misrule Sardinia, how bring back 
My father? 

Vic. I mean . . . 

Pol. [who watches Victob narrowly this 
while]. Your father does not mean 

You should be ruling for your father's sake : 
It js your people must concern you wholly 
Instead of him. Yon mean this, sir ? (He drops 
My hand I) 

Cha. That people is now part of me. 

Vic. About the people! I took certun 
measures 
Some short time since . • . Oh, I know well, 

you know 
But little of my measures I These affect 
The nobles ; we 'to resumed some grants, im- 
posed 
A tax or two : prepare yourself, in short. 
For clamor on that score. Mark me : you yield 
Nojot of aught entrusted yon I 

Pol. No jot 

You yield I 

Cha. My father, when I took the oath, 

Althoucfh my eye might stray in search of yours, 
I heardit, understood it, promised God 
What you require. Till from this eminence 
He move me, here I keep, nor shall concede 
The meanest of my rights. 

Vic. [Aside.] The boy 's a fool I 

— Or rather, I^m a fool : for, what 's wrong 

her© ? 
To-day the sweets of reigning : let to-morrow 
Be ready with its bitters. 

{ErUer D'Obxsa.) 

There 's beside 
Somewhat to press upon your notice first. 

Cha. Then why delaT it for an instant, sir ? 
That Spanish claim perchance ? And, now yon 
speak, 

— This morning, my opinion was mature,^ 
Which, boy -like, I was bashful in producing 
To one I ne'er am like to fear in future ! 

My thought is formed upon that Spanish claim. 

Vic. Betim^ indeed. Not now, Charles! 
You require 
A host of papers on it. 

D'O. [Cominp forward.] Here they are. 
[To Cha.] I, sir, was minister and much beside 
Of the late monarch ; to say little, him 
I served : on yon I have, to say e'en less. 



154 



KING VICTOR AND KING CHARLES 



No daim. This caae contains those papers: 

with theni 
I tender you my office. 

Vic, [Hastily,] ^ Keep him, Charles ! 

There 's reason for it — many reasons : you 
Distrust him, nor are so far wrong there, — but 
He ^s mixed up in this matter — he ^11 desire 
To quit you, for occasions known to me : 
Do not accept those reasons : have him stav ! 

Pol. [Aside.] His minister thrust on us ! 

Cha.[To D'O,] Sir, beUeve, 

In justice to myself, you do not need 
E'en tiiis commending : howsoever might seem 
My feelings toward you, as a private man. 
They ^uit me in the vast and untried field 
Of action. Though I shall myself (as late 
In your own hearing I engaged to do) 
Preside o^er mySarainia, yet your help 
Is necessary. Think the past forgotten 
And serve me now I 

D^O. ^ I did not offer you 

My service — would that I could serve you, sir ! 
As for the Sitanish matter . . . 

Vic. But dispatch 

At least the dead, in my good daughter's phrase, 
Before the living ! Help to house me sale 
B^re with D'Ormea you set the world agape ! 
Here is a paper — will you overlook 
What I propose reserving for my needs ? 
Iget as far from you as possible : 
Here 's what I reckon my expenditure. 

Cha. [Reading.] A miserable fifty thousand 
crowns I 

Vic. Oh, quite enough for country gentle- 
men ! 
Beside, the exchequer happens . . . but find 

out 
All that, vourself I 

Cha. (Still reading.] "Count Tende" — 
what means this ? 

Vic. Me : you were but an infant when I 
burst 
Through the defile of Tende upon France. 
Had only my allies kept true to me I 
No matter. Tende 's, then, a name I take 
Just as . . . 

D'O. — The liarohioness Sebastian takes 
The name of Spigno. 

Cha. How, sir? 

Vic. [ToD'O.] Fool I All that 

Was for mv own detailing. [To Cha.] That 
anon I 

Cha. [To D'O.] Explain what you have 
said, sir I 

D^O, I supposed 

The marriage of the King to her I named, 
Profoundly Kept a secret these few weeks, 
Was not to be one, now he 's Count. 

Pol. [Aside.] With us 

The minister — with him the mistress I 

Cha. [To Vic] No — 

Tell me you have not taken her — that wo- 
man — 
To live with, past recall I 

Vic. And where 's the crime . . . 

Pol, [To Cha.] True, sir, this is a matter 
past recall 
And past your cognizance. A day before, 



And you had been compelled to note this — 

now 
Why note it ? The King saved lus Hoiise 

from shame : 
What the Count did, is no concern of yours. 
Cha, [AJier a pattse,] The Spanish claim, 

D'Otom * 



Lea! 



Vic. 



Why, my son, 
I took some ill-advisea . . . one^s age, in fact, 
Spoils everything : though I was overreached, 
A younger brain, we *11 trust, may extricate 
Sardinia readily. To-monow, D'Ormea, 
Inform the King I 
D^O. [Without regarding Victor, and 
leisttrelyA 

Thus stands the case with Spain : 
When first the Infant Carlos claimed his proper 
Succession to the throne of Tuscany . . . 
Vic. I tell you, that stands over I Let that 
rest! 
There is the policy I 

Cha. [To 1)'0.] Thus must I know, 
And more — too much. The remedy ? 

D'O. Ofooune! 

No firlimpse of one. 

Vic. No remedy at all I 

It makes the remedy itself — time makes it. 
D'p. [To Cha.} But if . . . 
Vic. [Still more heutily.] In fine, I shall 
take care of that : 
And, with another project that I have . . . 
D^O. [Turning on him.] Oh, since Coont 
Tende means to take again 
Kii^ Victor's crown ! — 
Pol. [Throwing herself at Victob's feeL] 

Eren now retake it, sir ! 
Oh, speak I We are your subjects both, onoe 

morel 
Say it — a word effects it I Yon meant not. 
Nor do mean now, to take it : but you must ! 
'T is in von — in your nature — and the shame *■ 
Not half the shame 't would grow to afterwards ! 
Cha. Polyxena I 

Pol. A word recalls the kni^ts — 

Say it I — What 's promising and what's the 

past? 
Say you are still King Victor ! 

D^O, Better say 

The Count repents, in. brief ! 

[YlOXOE fiMSB. 

Cha, With such a onine 

I have not charged you, sir ! 
Pol. Charles turns from me I 



SECOND YEAR, 1731. — KING CHARL.ES 

PART I 
Enter Qubui Poltxxha and D'Osmsa. — A jMnue. 

Pol. And now, sir, what have you to say ? 

D'O. Count Tende . . . 

Pol, Affirm not I betrayed you ; yon t» 
solve 
On uttering this strange intelligence 
— Nay, post vourself to find me ere I reach 
The capital, because you know King Charles 
Tarries a day or two at Evian baths 



\ 



KING VICTOR AND KING CHARLES 



155 



Behind me: — but take warn inef — here and 
thos [Seating henelf «n the royal teat. 

I listen, if I listen — not your friend. . 
Explicitly the statement, if you still 
Persist to orge it on me, must proceed : 
I am not made for aufi^ht else. 

D'O. Good I Count Tende . . . 

Foi. I, who mistrust you, shall acquaint 
King Charles, 
Who eyen more mistrusts you. 

D'O. Does he so? 

Pol. VHiy should he not? 

J)'0. Ay, wh:^not? Motives, seek 

Ton Tiitaons people, motives ! Say, I serve 
God at the devU's bidding — will that do ? 
I ^m proud : our people have been pacified, 
BeaSrr I know not how — 

Pol. By truthfulness. 

D'O. Exactly ; that shows I had naught to 
do 
With pacifying them. Our foreign perils 
Abo exceed my means to stay : but nere 
Tis otherwise, and my pride 's piqued. Count 

Tende 
Completes a full year's absence : would you, 

madam. 
Have the old monarch back, his mistress back. 
His measures back ? I pray you, act upon 
My oonnseL, or they will be. 

Pol. When? 

D'O. Let 's think. 

Home-matterB settled — '^^etor *s coming now ; 
Let foreign matters settle — Victor 's here 
Unkfis I stop him ; as I will, this way. 

P<d. [ Reading the papers he presents. 1 If this 
diould prove a plot 'twixt you and Victor ? 
Yon seek annoyances to give the pretext 
Vcr what yon say you fear ! 

D'O. Oh, possibly ! 

Igo for nothing. Onlv show King Charles 
That thoa Count Tenoe purposes return. 
And style me his inviter, if ^ou please I 

Pol. Half of your tale is true ; most like, 
the Count 
Sedn to return : but wh^ stay you with us ? 
I To aid in such emergencies. 

D'O. Keep safe 

Tlioae papers : or, to serve me, leave no proof 
I thus nave oounsaUedl When the Count re- 

tnms. 
And the King abdicates, 't will stead me little 
To have thus counselled. 

Pol. The King abdicate ! 

jD'O. He's good, we knew long since — 
I wise, we ouaoover — 

' Firm, let ns hope : — but I 'd have gone to work 
¥nth him away. Well! 

glHAHLES Without.] In the Council Chamber ? 
'a AU'slost! 
PU. Oh, surely not King Charles I He 's 
changed — 
That 's not this year's care-burdened voice and 

step: 
Tis hat year's step, the Prince's voice I 

lyO. I know. 

{Bnier Gkabub — D^Obkxa retiring a liUle.) 

Cia. Now wish me joy, Polyxena I Wish it 



The old way! IShe embrace* him. 

There was too much cause for that ! 
But I have found myself again. What news 
At Turin ? Oh, if you but felt the load 
I'm fi'ee of — free I I said this year would 

end 
Or it, or me — but I am free, thank God ! 

Pol. How, Charles? 

Cha. Ton do not guess ? The day I found 
Sardinia's hideous coil, at home, abroad, 
And how my father was involved in it, — 
Of course, I vowed to rest and smile no more 
Until I cleared his name from obloquy. 
We did the people right — 't was much to 

gain 
That point, redress our nobles' grievance, too — 
But that took place here, was no crying shame : 
AU must be done abroad, — if I abroad 
Appeased the justly-angered Powers, destroyed 
The scandal, took down Victor's name at last 
From a bad eminence, I then might breathe 
And rest 1 No moment was to lose. Behold 
The proud result — a Treaty, Austria, Spain 
Agree to — 

/)'0. [Aside.] I shall merely stipulate 
For an experienced headsman. 

Cha. Not a soul 

Is compromised : the blotted past 's a blank : 
Even D'Ormea esoapM unquestioned. See I 
It reached me from Vienna ; I remained 
At Evian to dispatch the Count his news ; 
'T is gone to Chambery a week ago — 
And here am I : do I deserve to feel 
Your warm white arms around me ? 

D^O. '[Coming forward.] He knows that? ^ 

Cha. What, m Heaven's name, means this ? 

D^O. He knows that matters 

Are settled at Vienna? Not too late I 
Plainly, unless you poet this very hour 
Some man you trust (say, me) to Chambery 
And take precautions I acquaint you with. 
Your father will return here. 

Cha, Are you crazed, 

D'Ormea? Here ? For what? As weU re- 
turn 
To take his crown ! 

D^O, He will return for that. 

Cha. [To Pol.] You have not listened to 
this man? 

Pol, He spoke 

About your safety — ana I listened. 

[He dUengage* kimt^ffrom her arm*. 

Cha. [To D'O.l What 

Apprised you of the Count's intentions ? 

D'O. Me? 

His heart, sir ; you may not be used to read 
Such evidence however ; therefore read 

[Pointing to Poltxkna*b paper*. 
My evidence. 

Cha. [To Pol.] Oh, worthy this of you I 
And of your speech I never have forgotten. 
Though I professed f orgetf ulness ; which haunts 

me 
As if I did not know how false it was ; 
Which made me toil anconsciously thus long 
That there might be no least occasion left 
For aught of ite prediction coming true I 
And now, when there is left no least occasion 



156 



KING VICTOR AND KING CHARLES 



To instigate my father to such crime — 
When I might venture to f oreet (I hoped) 
That speech and recognize Polvxena — 
Oh worthy, to revive, and tenfold worscj 
That plague I D'Ormea at your ear, his slan- 
ders 
Still in your hand I Silent ? 

Pol. As the wronged are. 

Cka. And you, D'Ormea, sinoe when have 
you presumed 
To spy upon my father ? I conceive ^ 
What that wise pajwr shows, and easily. 
Since when ? 

D''0, The when and where and how belong 
To me. 'T is sad work, but I deal in such. 
You ofttimes serve yourself ; I 'd serve you here : 
Use makes me not so squeamish. In a word. 
Since the first hour he went to Chambery, 
Of his seven servants, five have 1 suborned. 

Cha. Tou hate my father ? 

jD'O. Oh, just as you will I 

[Looking at Polyxxna. 
A minute since, I loved him — hate him, now ! 
What matter ? — if you ponder just one thing : 
Has he that treaty ? — he is setting forward 
Already. Are your guards here ? 

Cha. Well for you 

They are not! [To PoL.] Him I knew of old, 

but you — 
To hear that pickthank, further his designs ! 

ITo D'O. 
Ghiards ? — were they here, I ^d bid them, for 

your trouble, 
Arrest you. 

D^O, Guards you shall not want. « I lived 
* The servant of your choice, not of your need. 
You never greatly needed me till now 
That you discfurd me. This is m^ arrest. 
Ac:ain I tender you my charge — its duty 
"W^uld bid me press you read those documents. 
Here, sir ! IQffering his badge of Office. 

Cha. [Taking it.] The papers also I Do you 
think 
I dare not read them ? 

Pol. Read them, sir I 

Cha. ^ ^ They prove, 

Hy fatlier, still a month within the year 
Since he so solemnly consigned it me. 
Means to resume ms crown ? They shall prove 

that. 
Or my best dungeon . . . 

D^O. ^ Even say, Chambery ! 

'T is vacant, I surmise, by this. 

Cha. ^ You prove 

Your words or pay their forfeit, sir. Go there ! 
Pulyxena, one chance to rend the veil 
Thickening and blackening ^twixt us two ! Do 

say, 
Yon ^11 see the f ^sehood of the charges proved I 
Do say. at least, you wish to see them proved 
False cnai^es — my heart's love of other times ! 

Pd. Ah, Charles! 

Cha. [To D'O.] Precede me, sir ! 

D'O. And I *m at length 

A mi^yr for the truth ! No end, thev say. 
Of miracles. My conscious innocence I 
[As they go out^ erUer — by the middle door, at which 
he pauses — VxcrosO 



Vic. Sure I heard voices? No. Welltl 

do best 
To make at once for this, the heart o' the place. 
The old room ! Nothing changed ! So near my 

seat. 
D'Ormea r [Pushing away the stod iphick is by 

the Kino's chair. 

I want that meeting over fint, 
I know not why. Tush, he, D^Ormea. slow 
To hearten me, the sujpple knave ? Tnat bunt 
Of spite so eased him I He '11 inform me . . . 

What? 
Why come I hither ? All 's in rough : let all 
Remain rough. There *s full time to drawback 

— nay, 
There 's naught to draw back from, as yet ; 

whereas. 
If reason should be, to arrest a course 
Of error — reason good, to interpose 
And save, as I have saved so many times, 
Our House, admonish my son^s giddy youth. 
Relieve him of a weight that proves toomucn— 
Now is the time, — or now, or never. 

'Fjuth, 
This kind of step is pitiful, not due 
To Charles, this stealing back — hither, he- 
cause 
He 's from his capital ! Oh Victor I Victor ! 
But thus it is. The age of crafty men 
Is loathsome ; youth contrives to carry off 
Dissimulation ; we may intersperse 
Extenuating passages of strength, 
Ardor, vivacity £md wit — may tnin 
E'en guile into a voluntary grace : 
But one's old age, when graces drop away 
And leave guile the pure staple of onr lives— 
Ah, loathsome ! 

Not so — or why pause I? Toria 
Is mine to have, were I so minded, for 
The asking; all the army's mine — I've vit- 

neesed 
Each private fight beneath me ; all the Court's 
Mine too ; and, best of all, D'Ormea's still ^ 
D'Ormea and mine. There 's some grace cling<- 

ing yet. 
Had I decided on this step, ere midnight 
I 'd take the crown. 

No. Just this step to lise 
Exhausts me. Here am I arrived : the rest 
Must be done for me. Would I could sit here 
And let things right themselves, the masque 

unmasque 
Of the old lung, crownless, grsiy hair and hot 

blood, — 
The young King, crowned, but calm before his 

time. 
They say, — the eager mistress with her 

taunts, — 
And the sad earnest wife who motions me 
Away — ay, there she knelt to me I E'en yet 
I can return and sleep at Chambery 
A dream out. 

Rather shake it off at Turin, 
Ejng Victor ! Say : to Turin — yea, or no ? 

'Tis this relentless noonday-lighted chamber. 
Lighted like life but silent as the grave. 
That disconcerts me. That 's the change most 

strike. 



KING VICTOR AND KING CHARLES 



157 



No ailfiiiee last year! Some one flung: doors 

wide 
(Those two great doors which scrutinize me now) 
And out I went 'mid crowds of men — men talk- 
Men watchiner if my lip fell or brow knit, 
Men saw me safe forth, pnt me on my road : 
Hiat makes the misery of this retom. 
Oh had a battle done it ! Had I dropped. 
Haling some battle, three entire days old. 
Hither and thither by the forehead — dropped 
In Spain, in Austria, best of all, in France — 
framed on its horns or underneath its hoofs, 
When the spent monster went upon its knees 
To pad and pash the prostrate wretch — I, Vic- 
tor, 
Sole to have stood up against France, beat 

down 
By inches, brayed to pieces finally 
In some -vast unimaginable charge, 
A flying hell of horse and foot and guns 
Over me, and all 's lost, forever lost, 
Hiere *8 no more Victor when the world wakes 

np! 
Tlien flilenoe, as of a raw battlefield, 
Thronehout the world. Then after (as whole 

days 
After, yon catch at intervals faint noise 
Througn the stiff crust of frozen blood) — there 

creeps 
A rumor forth, so faint, no noise at all, 
Hiat a strange old man, with face outworn for 

wonnds. 
Is stomblin^ on from frontier town to town, 
Bcgnng a pittance that may help him find 
ffisTurin oat : what scorn and laughter follow 
The eoin you mng into his cap ! And last, 
Sonie blight mom, how men crowd about the 

midst 
C the market-place, where takes the old king 

breath 
fie with his cratch he strike the palace-gate 
Wide ope! 

To Turin, yes or no — or no? 
(Be-^nter Ohablbb with paper*.) 
Cka. Just as I thought I A miserable false- 
hood 
Of hirelii^ discontented with their pay 
And loaging for enfranchisement 1 A few 
Testy expressions of old age that thinks 
To keep alive its dignity o*er slaves 
By means Uiat suit their natures I 

[Tearing them,] Thus they shake 

My f aim in Victor ! 

[Turning f he discovers Victob. 



Vie. [After a pauseA Not at Evian, Charles? 
What's this? Why do 
doors? 



yon run to close the 



Xo weloome for your father ? 

Cha. [AsideJl Not his voice ! 

What would I give for one imperious tone 
Of the old sort! That 's gone forever. 

Vie. Must 

1 ask ofDoe more ... 

Gki. No — I concede it, sir ! 

Yoa ton returned for . . . true, your health 

declines; 
Trae, Chambery ^s a bleak unkindly spot ; 



You 'd choose one fitter for your final lodge — 
Veneria, or Monci^lier — ay, that 's dose 
And I concede it. 

Vic. I received advices 

Of the conclusion of the Spanish matter, 
Dated from Evian Baths . . . 

Cka. And you forbore 

To visit me at Evian, satisfied 
The work I had to do would fully task 
The little wit I have, and that your presence 
Would only disconcert me — 

Vic. Charles? 

Cka. — Me, set 

Forever in a foreign course to yours, 
And ... 

Sir, this way of wile were good to catch. 
But I have not the sleight of it. The truth I 
Though I sink under it I What brings you 
here? 
Vic. Not hope of this reception, certainly. 
From one who 'd scarce assume a stranger mode 
Of speech, did I return to bring about 
Some awf uUest calamity I 

Cka. ^ — You mean. 

Did you require your crown again I Oh yes, 
I should speak ouierwise I But turn not that 
To jesting ! Sir, the truth I Your health de- 
clines?^ 
Is aught deficient in your equipage ? 
Wiserjr vou seek myself to make complaint, 
And toil the malice of the world which laughs 
At petty discontents ; but I shall care 
That not a soul knows of this visit. Speak ! 
Vic, [Aside.^ Here is the grateful much-pro- 
fessing son 
Prepared to worship me, for whose sole sake 
I thmk to waive my plans of public good I 
[Aloud."] Nay, Charles, if I did seek to take 

once more 
My crown, were so disposed to plaprue myself, 
What would be warrant for this bitterness ? 
I gave it — grant I would resume it — well ? 
Cka. I should say simply — leaving out the 
why 
And how — you made me swear to keep that 

crown: 
And as you dien intended . . . 

Vic. Fool I What way 

Could I intend or not intend ? As mui, 
With a man's will, when I say^ " I intend, '' 
I can intend up to a certain point. 
No farther. 1 intended to preserve 
The crown of Savoy and Sardinia whole : 
And if events arise demonstrating 
The way, I hoped should guard it, rather like 
To lose it ... ^ 

Cha. Keep within your sphere and mine ! 
It is God's pro vmce we usurp on, else. 
Here, blindfold through the maze of things we 

walk 
By a slight clue of false, true, right and wrong ; 
All else is rambling and presumption. I 
Have sworn to keep this kingdom : there 's my 
truth. 
Vic. Truth, boy, is here, within my breast ; 
and in 
Your recognition of it, truth is, too ; 
And in the effect of all this tortuous dealing 



158 



KING VICTOR AND KING CHARLES 



With falsehood, used to carry out the truth, 
— In its success, this falsehood turns, again. 
Truth for the world I But you are right : these 

themes 
Are oYer-subtle. I should raider say 
In such a case, frankly, — it fails, my scheme : 
I hoped to see you bring about, yourself, 
What I must bring about. I interpose 
On your behalf — with my son^s good in s^ht — 
To hold what he is nearly letting go, 
Confirm his title, add a grace per^ps. 
There 's Sicily, for instance, — granted me 
And taken back, some years since : till I give 
That island witJi the rest, my work 's half 

done. 
For his sake, therefore, as of those he rules . . . 
Cha, Our sakes are one ; and that, you could 

not say. 
Because my answer would present itself 
Forthwith: — a year has wrought an age's 

change. 
This people 's not the people now, you once 
Could benefit ; nor is my policy 
Your policy. 

Vic, [Withanovthwrst.'] I know it! You undo 
All I have done — my life of toU and care I 
I left you this the absolutest rule 
In Europe : do you think I sit and smile, 
Bid you throw power to the populace — 
See my Sardinia, that has kept apart, 
Join in the mad and democratic whirl 
Whereto I see all Europe haste full tide ? 
England casts off her kings ; France mimics 

England : 
This realm I hoped was safe I Yet here I talk, 
When I can save it, not bv force alone, ^ 
But bidding plagues, whicn follow sons like you. 
Fasten upon my disobedient . . . 

[Recollecting himself.] Surely 
I could 8^ this — if minded so — my son r 
Cha. You could not. Bitterer curses than 

your curse 
Have 1 long since denounced upon mvself 
If I misused my power. In fear of these 
I entered on those measures — wUl abide 
By them : so, I should say. Count Tende . . . 
Vic. No ! 

But no ! But if, my Charles, your — more than 

old — 
Half-foolish father urged th^ ai^ruraents. 
And then confessed them futile, but said plainly 
That he forgot his promise, found his strength 
Fail him, had thought at savage Chambery 
Too much of brilliant Turin, Rivoli here. 
And Susa, and Veneria, and Superga — 
Pined for the pleasant places he haa built 
When he was fortunate and young — 
Cha, _ My father I 

Vic. Stay yet I — and if he said he could not 

die 
Deprived of baubles he had put aside. 
He deemed, forever — of the Crown that binds 
Your brain up, whole, sound and impregnable, 
Creating kingliness — the Sceptre too. 
Whose mere wind, should you wave it, back 

would beat 
Invaders — and the golden Ball which throbs 
As if you grasped the palpitating heart 



Indeed o' the realm, to mould as ohoose yon 
may I 

— If I must totter up and down the streets 
My sires biult, where myself have introduced 
And fostered laws and letters, sciences, 

The civil and the military arts I 

Stay, Charles ! I see you letting me pretend 

To Uve my former self once more — King Victor, 

The venturous yet politic : they style me 

Again, the Father of the Prince : friends wink 

Good-humoredly at the delusion you 

So sedulously guard from all rough truths 

That else would break upon my dotage! — 

You — 
Whom now I see preventinpr my old shame — 
I tell not, point by cruel pomt, my tale — 
For is ^t not in your breast my brow is hid ? 
Is not your hand extended ? Say you not . . . 

{Enter D^Ormul, leading in Poltzsva.) 
Pd. [Advancing and withdrawing Coabusb 

— to Victor.] 

In this conjuncture even, he would say 
(Though with a moistened eye and quivering lip) 
The suppliant is mv father. I must save^ 
A great man from himself, nor see him flii^ 
His well-earned fame away : there must not 

follow 
Ruin so utter, a break-down of worth 
So absolute : no enemy shall learn. 
He thrust his child ^twixt danger and himself. 
And, when that child somehow stood danger 

out, 
Stole back with serpent wiles to ruin Charles 

— Body, tJiat ^s much, — and soul, ihat 'a moxe 

— and realm. 

That 's most of all ! No enemy shall say . . . 

D^O, Do you repent, sir ? 

Vic, [Resuming himself.] D'Ormea? This is 
well! 
Worthily done. King Charles, craftily done ! 
Judiciously you post these, to o'erhear 
The little your importunate father thrusts 
Himself on you to say I — Ah, they 'U oorreet 
The amiable blind facility 
You show in answering his peevish suit. 
What can he need to sue for? Thanks, 

D^Ormea ! 
You have fulfilled your o£Bce : but for you. 
The old Count might have drawn some few 

more livres 
To swell his income ! Had you, lady, missed 
The moment, a permission might be granted 
To buttress up my ruinous old pile I 
But you remember properly the list 
Of wise precautions 1 took when I grave 
Nearly as much awav — to reap the fruits 
I should have looked for I 

Cha. Thanks, sir : degrade me* 

So you remain yourself ! Adieu I 

Vic. I 'U not 

Foi^t it for the future, nor presume 
Next time to slight sucn mediators I Nay — 
Had I first moved them both to intercede, 
I r nig ht secure a chamber in Moncaglier 

— Who knows ? 

Cha. Adieu ! 

Vic, You bid me this adieu 

With the old spirit ? 



KING VICTOR AND KING CHARLES 



159 



Cha, Adien 1 

Vic, Charles— Charles I 

Cha, Adieu I 

[ViOTOB goe4. 

Cha. Tcm were mistaken, Marquis, as yon 
hear! 
Twas for another purpose the Count came. 
Hie Count desires Moneaglier. Give the order ! 

WO, [Letsurelif.] Your minister has lost 
your oonfidenoe, 
Aswrting late, for his own purposes, 
Cmmt Tende would . . . 

Cka, [Flinging his badge bcick.] Be still the 
poinister I 
And give a loose to your insulting joy ; 
It irlu me more thus stifled than expressed : 
Loose it! 

B^O. There 's none to loose, alas I I see 
I never am to die a martyr. 

Pol, Charles 1 

Cha, No praise, at least, Polyzena — no 



I 



KING CHARLES 



PART II 



lyOwKMA aeaieA, folding papoTM he has been examining. 



at tlie last efiPects it : now. King Charles 
Or eke King Victor — that's a hfuanoe: but 

now, 
D'Onnea the arch-culprit, either turn 
O^ the scale, — that *8 sure enough. A point to 

solve. 
My masters, moratists, whatever your style ! 
Wnen yon disoover why I push myself 
Into a pitfall you 'd pass safely by. 
Impart to me among the rest I No matter. 
Fhnnpt are the righteous ever with their rede 
To BS the wrongful : lesson them this once I 
For safe am ong the wicked are you set, 
D'Onnea ! We lament life's brevity, 
Tet quarter e'en the threescore yean and ten. 
Nor sdek to call the quarter roundly ** life." 
D^Qranea was wicked, say, some twenty years ; 
A txee so long was stunted ; afterward. 
What if it grew, continued growing, till 
Ko fellow of the forest equ^ed it ? 
"T was a stump then ; a stump it still must be : 
While forward saplings, at the outset checked, 
la Tirtue of that nrst sprout keep their style 
Amid the forest's green fraternity. 
Thns I shoot up to surely get lopped down 
And bound up for the burning. Now for it ! 

{Enter Chabuh and Polyxxra with Attendants.) 

tyO, [Rises A Sir, in the due discharge of 
this my office — 
This eof oreed summons of yourself from Turin, 
Aad the disolosure I am bound to make 
ToHdfi^t, — there must already be, I feel, 
So much that wounds . . . 

Cka, WeU, sir ? 

JD'O. — That I, perchance, 

M^ utter also what, another time, 
W«mld irk much, — it may prove less irksome 



Cha, What would yon utter ? 



i>'0. That I from my soul 

Grieve at to-night's event : for you I grieve. 
E'en grieve for . . . 

Cha, Tush, another time for talk ! 

My kingdom is in imminent danger ? 

D'O, . Let 

The Count communicate with France — its 

King, 
His grandson, will have Flenry's aid for this, 
Though for no other war. 

Cha, First for the levies : 

What forces can I muster presently ? 

[D'Obmba delivers papers which Chablsb inspects. 

Cha. Good — very good. Montorio . . . 
how is this ? 
— Equips me double the old complement 
Of soldiers? 

D^O, Since his land has been relieyed 

From double imposts, this he manages : 
But under the late monarch . . . 

Cha, ^ Peace I I know. 

Count Spava has omitted mentioning 
What proxy is to head these troops of his. 
• D^O, Count Spava means to head his troops 

himself. 
Something to fight for now ; " Whereas," says 

he, 
** Under the sovereign's father "... 

Cha. It would seem 

That all my people love me. 

D'O. Yes. 

[To POLTXB5A vfhile Chablss eeniinues to inspect the 

papers. 

A temi>er 
Like Victor's may avail to keep a state ; 
He terrifies men and they fall not off ; 
Good to restrain : best, ii restraint were all. 
But, with the silent circle round him, ends 
Sucn sway : our Kill's begins precisely there. 
For to suggest, impel and set at work, 
Is quite another function. Men may slight. 
In time of peace, the King who brought them 

peace: 
In war, — his voice, his eyes, help more than 

fear. 
They love you, sir ! 
Cha, [To Attendants,'] Bring the regalia 
forth! 
Quit the room I And now. Marquis, answer 

me I 
Why should the King of France invade my 
realm? 
I)''0. Why? Did I not acquaint your Ma- 
jesty 
An hour ago ? 

Cha, I choose to hear agiun 

What then I heard. 

D^O. Because, sir, as I said. 

Your father is resolved to have his crown 
At any risk ; and, as I judge, calls in 
The foreigner to aid him. 

Cha. And your reason 

For saying this ? 

D^O, \Aside,'\ Ay, just his father's way ! 
[To Cha. J The Count wrote yesterday to your 

forces' Chief, 
Rhebinder — made demand of help — 

Cha, To try 



1 



i6o 



KING VICTOR AND KING CHARLES 



Rhebinder — he *8 of alien blood. Anght else ? 

D^O, Reoeiying: a refiual, — some hours 
after, 
The Connt called on Del Borgo to deliver 
The Act of Abdication : he refusing^, 
Or hesitating, rather — 

Cha. Whatensaed? 

D*0. At midnight, only two hours since, at 
Turin, 
He rode in person to the citadel 
With one attendant, to Soccorso gate. 
And bade the governor, San Remi, open — 
Admit him. 

Cha, For a irarpose I divine. 

These three were faithful, then ? 

D'O, They told it me : 

Andl — 

Cha, Most faithful — 

D'O, Tell it you — with this 

Moreover of my own : if, an hour hence. 
You have not interposed, the Count will be 
O' the road to France for succor. 

Cha, Very good I 

You do your duty now to me your monarch 
Fully, I warrant ? — have, diat is, vonr project 
For saving both of us disgrace, no doubt? 

D^O. I give my counsel, — and the only 
one. 
A month since, I besought you to employ 
Restraints which had prevented many a pang : 
But now the harsher course must be pursued. 
These papers, made for the emei^ncy. 
Will pfun you to subscribe : this is a list 
Of those suspected merely — men to watch ; 
This — of the few of the Count's very house- 
hold 
You must, however reluctantly, arrest ; 
While here 's a method of remonstrance — sure 
Not stronger than the case demands — to take 
With the Count's self. 

Cha, Deliver those three papers. 

Pol, [While Charles inspects them— to 
D'Obmea.] 
Your measures are not over-harsh, sir : France 
Will hardly be deterred from her intents 
By these. 

D^O. If who proposes might dispose, 
I could soon satisfy you. Even these, 
Hear what he '11 say at mv presenting I 

Cha. [who has signed Mem]. There ! 

About the warrants I You 've mv signature. 
What turns you pale ? I do my auty by you 
In acting boldly thus on your advice. 

lyO. [Reading them separately.] Arrest the 
people I suspected merely ? 

Cha. Did you suspect them ? 

D'O. ^ ^ Doubtless: but — but — sir, 
This Forquieri 's governor of Turin, 
And Rivarol and ne have influence over 
Half of the capital I Rabella, too ? 
Why, sir — 

Cha. Oh, leave the fear to me ! 

D'O. [StiU reading.] You bid me 

Incarcerate the people on this list ? 
Sir- 

Cha. But you never bade arrest those men. 
So dose related to my father too. 
On trifling grounds ? 



D'O. Oh, as for that, St. Qwrgti, 

President of Chambery's senators, 
Is hatching treason I still — 

[More troubled.] Sir, Count Cnmiane 
Is brother to your father's wife! What's 

here? 
Arrest the wife herself ? 

Cha, You seem to think 

A venial crime this plot against me. WeU ? 

D^O. [who has read the last j^per]. Where- 
fore am I thus ruined ? Why not take 
My life at once ? This poor f ormauty 
Is, let me say, unworthy you ! Prevent it 
You, madam I. I have served yon, am pre- 
pared 
For all di^jaoes : only, let disgrace 
Be plain, be proper — proper for the world 
To pass its judgment on 'twizt you and me I 
Take back your warrant, I wiUnone of it I 

Cha. Here is a man to talk of fickleness I 
He stakes his life upon my father's falsehood ; 
I bid him ... 

D'O, Not you ! Were he trebly false. 

You do not bid me . . . 

Cha. Is 't not written there ? 

I thought BO : give — I '11 set it right. 

D'O, Is it there? 

Oh yes, and plain — arrest him now — drag 

here 
Your father ! And were all six tunes as plam, 
Doyou suppose I trust it ? 

dna. Just one word ! 

You bring him, taken in the act of fl^iht. 
Or else your life is forfeit. 

D'O, Ay, to Turin 

I bring him, and to-morrow ? 

Cha. Here and now ! 

The whole thing is a lie, a hateful lie. 
As I believed and as my father said. 
I knew it from the first, but was compelled 
To circumvent vou ; and the great D^Onuea, 
That baffled Alberoni and tricked Coacia, 
The miserable sower of such discord 
'Twixt sire and son, is in the toils at last. 
Oh I see I you arrive — this plan of yours. 
Weak as it is, torments sufflcientlv 
A sick old peevish man — wrings hasty speech, 
An Ul- considered threat from him; that's 

noted ; 
Then out you ferret papers, his amusement 
In lonely hours of lassitude — examine 
The day-by-day report of your paid spies — 
And back you come : all was not ripe, you find. 
And, as you hope, may keep from ripening yet. 
But you were in bare time I Only, 't were best 
I never saw my father — these old men 
Are potent in excuses : and meanwhile, 
D'Ormea 's the man I cannot do without I 

Pol. Charles — 

Cha, Ah, no question I You against me too I 
You 'd have me eat and drink and sleep, live, 

die, 
With this lie coiled about me, choking: me ! 
No, no, D'Ormea ! You venture life, yon say. 
Upon my father's perfidsr : and I ^ 
Have, on the whole, no right to disregard 
The chains of testimony you thus wind 
About me ; though I do — do from my soul 



KING VICTOR AND KING CHARLES 



i6i 



Diaoreditthem: still I most authorize 
Thene measures, and I will. Perugia I 

[MatM Offioers enter,] Coimt — 

Toa and Solar, with all the force you have, 
Stand at the Marquis' orders : what he bids, 
Implicitly perform I Tou are to bring 
A tnitor here ; the man that 's likest one 
At present, ^nts me ; you are at his beck 
For a ftill hour ! he undertakes to show 
A fooler than himself, — but, failing that, 
Retom with him, and^as my father lives. 
He dies this night I The clemency you blame 
So oft, shall be revoked — rights ezeroiBed, 
Too long abjured. 

[To iJ'O.J Now, sir, about the work I 

To aave your king and country I Take the 
warrant 1 

i)*0. Ton hear the sovereign's mandate, 
Count Perugia? 
Obey me ! As your diligence, expect 
Reward 1 AU follow to Montcaglier ! 

[D'Obioia goe*. 

Cfto. [In great anffwish,] D'Ormea I 
He goes, lit up with that appalling smile 1 

Sro PoLTXiMA after a pmue, 
all this? 
Pol. ' These means 

Of oar defence — these measures of precaution ? 
Cha, It must be the best way : I should 
have else 
Withered beneath his scorn. 
Pol. What would you say ? 

Cha, Why, do yon think I mean to keep 

the crown, Polyxeua ? 
Pol. You then believe the story 

In gptte of all — that Victor comes ? 

(Jba. Believe it? 

I know that he is coming — feel the strength 
Hiat has upheld me leave me at his coming^ I 
T was mine, and now he takes his own again. 
Some kinds of strength are weU enough to 

have; 
But who's to have that strength? Let my 

crown go! 
I aeant to keep it ; but I cannot — cannot ! 
Only, he shall not taunt me — he, the first . . . 
See if he would not be the first to taunt me 
^th having left his kingdom at a word. 
With letting it be conquered without stroke, 
^th . . . no — no — t is no worse than wnen 

he left! 
I VeJDflt to bid him take it, and, that over, 
We 11 fly awav — fly. for I loathe this Turin, 
This Rivoli, all titl^ loathe, all state. 
We 'd best go to your country — unless God 
bend I die now ! 
Pol. Charles, hear me ! 

Cha. And again 

Shall yon be my Pol^ena — you 'U take me 
Oat en this^ woe 1 Yes, do speak, and keep 

n)eakii^! 
I voola not let you speak just now, for fear 
Toa *d eonnsel me against him : but talk, now, 
A« ve two nseA to talk in blessed times : 
Bid me endure all his caprices ; take me 
Fram this mad post above him I 

Pci. ^ I believe 

We are undone, but from a different cause. 



All your resources, down to the least guard, 
Are at D'Ormea's beck. What if, the while, 
He act in concert with your father ? We 
Indeed were lost. This lonely Rivoli — 
Where find a better place for them ? 

Cha. [Pacing the room.'] And why 

Does Victor come ? To undo all that *s done, 
Restore the jmst, prevent the future I Seat 
His mistress in your seat, and place in mine 
. . . Oh, my own ipeople, whom will you find 

there. 
To ask of, to consult with, to care for. 
To holdup with your hands? Whom? One 

that 's false — 
False — from the head's crown to the foot's 

sole, false I 
The best is, that I knew it in my heart 
From the beginning, and expected this. 
And hated you, Polyxena, because 
You saw through him, though I too saw through 

him. 
Saw that he meant this while he crowned me, 

while 
He prayed for me, — nay, while he kissed my 

brow, 
I saw — 

Pol. But if your measures take effect, 

D'Ormea true to you ? 

Cha. Then worst of all ! 

I shall have loosed that callous wretch on him I 
WeU may the woman taunt him wilJi his child — 
I, eating here his bread, clothed in his clothes, 
Seated upon his seat, let slip D'Obrmea 
To outrage him! We talk — perchance he 

tears 
My father from his bed ; the old hands feel 
For one who is not, but who should be there : 
He finds D'Ormea I D'Ormea too finds him ! 
The crowded chamber when the lights go 

out — 
Closed doors — the horrid scuffle in the dark — 
The accursed prompting of the minute I My 

guards! 
To horse — and after, with me — and prevent ! 
Pol. [Seizing his hand.] ^ King Charles! 

Pause here upon this strip of time 
Allotted you out of eternity ! 
Crowns are from God: you in his name hold 

yours. 
Your life 's no least thing, were it fit your life 
Should be abjured along with rule ; but now, 
Keep both I Your duty is to live and rule — 
You, who would vulgarly look fine enough 
In the world's eye, deserting your soul's 

charge. — 
Ay, you would have men's praise, this Rivoli 
Would be illumined I^ Wliile, as 't is, no doubt. 
Something of stain will ever rest on you ; 
No one will rightly know why you refused 
To abdicate ; they '11 talk of deeds you could 
Have done, no doubt, — nor do I much expect 
Future achievement will blot out the past. 
Envelope it in haze — nor shall we two 
Live happy any more. 'T will be, I feel, 
Only in moments that the duty 's seen 
As palpably as now : the months, the years 
Of painful indistinctness are to come, 
While daily must we tread these palace-rooms 



1 62 



KING VICTOR AND KING CHARLES 



Pregnant with memories of the past : your eye 
May turn to mine and find no comfort there, 
Throngrh fancies that beset me, as yourself, 
Of other courses, with far other iwaes, 
We might hare taken this great night: such 

bear. 
As I will bear I What matters happiness ? 
Duty! There's man's one moment: this is 

yours I 

IPvUiriff the erown on hit head^ and the sceptre in his 
handy she places him on his seat : a long pause and 
silence. 

(Enter D^Ormsa. and Victoe, wUh Ouarda.) 

Vic, At last I speak ; but once — that once, 

to you I 
'T is you I ask, not these your varletry, 
Who^sKiij^ofus? 
Cha. [From his secU,] Count Tende . . . 
Vic, What your spies 

Assert I ponder in my soul, I say — 
Here to your face, amid your guards I I choose 
To take again the crown whose shadow I gave — 
For still its potency surrounds the weak 
White locks their felon hands have discomposed. 
Or I '11 not ask who 's Kiup^, but simply, who 
Withholds the crown I claim ? Deliver it ! 
I have no friend in the wide world : nor France 
Nor England cares for me : you see the sum 
Of what I can avail. Deliver it ! 
Cha, Take it, my father I 

And now say in turn, 
Was it done well, my father — sure not well. 
To try me thus ! I might have seen much cause 
For keeping it — too easily seen cause I 
But, from that moment, e'en more woefully 
Mv life had pined awav, than pine it will. 
A&eady you have much to answer for. 
My life to pine is nothing, — her sunk eyes 
Were happy once !^ No doubt, my people think 
I am their King still . . . but I cannot strive I 
Take it ! 

Vic, [One hand on the crown Chables qffers^ 

the other on his neck,] So few years give it 

quietly, 
My son ! It will drop from me. See you 

not? 
A crown 's unlike a sword to give away — 
That, let a strong hand to a weak hand give ! 
But crowns should slip from palsied brows to 

heads 
Toung as this head : yet mine is weak enough, 
E'en weaker than I knew. I seek for phraros 
To vindicate my right. 'T is of a piece I 
All is alike gone by with me — who beat 
Once D'Orleans iu his lines — his very lines ! 
To have been Eugene's comrade, Louis's rival. 
And now ... 
Cha. [Putting the crown on him, to the rest.^ 

The King speaks, yet none kueels, I 
. think I 
Vic, I am then King ! As I became a King 



Despite the nations, kept myself a King, 
So I die King, with Kingship dying too 
Around me I I have lasted Europe's time I 
What wants my story of completion ? Where 
Must needs the damning break show ? Who 

mistrusts 
Mv children here — tell they of any break 
'Twixt my day's sunrise and its fiery fall ? 
And who were by me when I died but they ? 
D'Ormea there I 

Cha, What means he ? 

Vic, Ever there I 

Charles — how to save your story ! Mine most 

go! 
Say — say that you refused the crown to me ! 
Charles, yours shall be my story! Yon imr 

mured 
Me, say, at Rivoli. A single year 
I spend without a sight of you, then die. 
That will serve every purpose — tell that tale 
The world I 

Cha, Mistrust me ? Help ! 

Vic, Past help, past reach ! 

'T is in the heart — you cannot reach tiie heart: 
This broke mine, that I did b^eve, yon, 

Charles, 
Would have denied me and disgraced me. 

Pol, Charles 

Has never ceased to be your subject, air ! 
He reigned at first through setting up yourself 
As pattern : if he e'er seemed harsh to you, 
'T was from a too intense appreciation 
Of your own character : he acted yon — 
Ne'er for an instant did I think it reali 
Nor look for auy other than this end. 
I hold him worlds the worse on that account ; 
But so it was. 

Cha. [To Pol.] I love you now indeed ! 
[To Vic] You never knew me ! 

Vic, ^ Hardly till this moment. 

When I seem learning many other things 
Because the time for using them is past. 
If *t were to do again I That 's idly wished. 
Truthfulness might prove policy as good 
As guile. Is this my daughter's forehead? 

Yes: 
I 've made it fitter now to be a queen's 
Than formerly : I 've ploughed Uie deep lines 

there 
Which keep too well a crown from alippinpr off. 
No matter. Guile has made me King: again. > 
Louis— /t was in King Victor's titne : — long 

since. 
When Louis reigned and, also, Victor reigned. 
How the world talks already of us two I 
Ood of eclipse and each discolored star, 
Why do I hnger then ? 

Ha! Where lurks he? 

D'Ormea ! Nearer to your King ! Kow standi 

[Collectmg his strength as D*Ouira approaekes. 

You lied, D'Ormea ! I do not repent. IDie*' 




N 



CAVALIER TUNES 



163 



DRAMATIC LYRICS 



The third number of Bells and Pomegranatesy 
paUished in 1842, contained a collection of short 
poems under the general head of Dramatic Lyr- 
ic*. When Browning made his first collective 
edition, he redistribated all his groups of poems, 
retaining this title and making it cover some of 
the poems included in the original group, but 
many more first published under other headings. 
The anangement here given is that adopted 
finally hj Browning. " Such Poems," he says, 
the majority in this volume (Dramatic L^fr- 



u 



ics) might also come properly enough, I sup- 
pose, under the head of Dramatic Pieces ; be- 
ing, though often Lyric in expression, always 
Dramatic in principle, and so many nttenmces 
of so many imaginary persons, not mine. Part 
of the Poems were inscribed to my dear friend, 
John Kenyon ; I hope the whole may obtain the 
honor of an association with his memory." 

The third of the Cavalier Tunes was originally 
entitled My Wife Gertrude, The three songs 
have been set to music by Dr. Villiers Stanford. 



CAVALIER TUNES 

L MARCHING ALONG 

Kkituh Sir Bjrng stood for his King, 
Biddmg the crop-headed Parliament swing : 
And, pressing a troop unable to stoop 
Aad see the vogues flourish and honest folk 

droop, 
Marehed toem along, fifty-score strong, 
Great-hearted gentlemen, singing this song. 

God for King Charles ! Pym and such carles 
To the Devil that prompts 'em their treasonous 

j^arlesl 
Cavahers, up ! Lips from the cup. 
Hands from the pasty, nor bite take nor sup 
Till you 're — 
Chords. — Marching along, fifty-score strong. 
Great-hearted gentlemen, singing 
this song. 

Hampden to helLand his obsequies' knell. 
Save Hazelrig, riennes, and young Harry as 

well ! 
England, good cheer ! Rupert is near ! 
Kentiah and loyalists, keep we not here, 
Cbo. — Marehing along, fifty-score strong, 

Qreat-hearted gentlemen, singing this 
song? 

Tben, God for Eling Charles! Pym and his 

snarls 
To the Devil that pricks on such pestilent 

carles! 
Hold by the right, you double your might ; 
S«L onward to Nottingham, fresh for the fight, 
Oho. — March we luong, fifty-score strong, 

Great-hearted gentlemen, singing this 
song! 



II. GIVE A ROUSE 

Kiag Charles, and wbo 'U do him right now ? 
K^K Charles, and who 's rine for fi^ht now ? 
OiTo a rooae : here 's, in beU's despite now, 
KiogCharieB! 



Who gave me the goods that went since ? 
Who nused me the house that sank once ? 
Who helped me to gold I spent since ? 
Who found me in wine you drank once ? 
Cho. — King Charles, and who'll do him 
right now ? 
King Charles, and who 's ripe for fight 

now? 
Give a rouse : here 's, in hell's de- 
spite now. 
King Charles! 

To whom used my boy Geoi^ quaff else. 
By the old fool's side that begot him ? 
For whom did he cheer and laugh else. 
While Noll's damned troopers shot him ? 
Cho. — King Charles, and who '11 do him 
right now ? 
King Charles, and who 's ripe for fight 

now? 
Give a rouse : here 's, in hell's de- 
spite now, 
King Charles ! 



III. BOOT AND SADDLE 

Boot, saddle, to horse, and away I 
Rescue my castle before the hot day 
Brightens to blue from its silvery gray. 
Cho. — Boot, saddle, to horse, and away ! 

Ride past the suburbs, asleep as yon 'd say ; 
Many 's the friend there, will listen and pray 
** God's luck to giJlants that strike up the lay - 
Cho. — Boot, saddle, to horse, and away ! " 

Forty miles off, like a roebuck at bay. 

Flouts Castle Brancepeth the Romidheads' 

array: 
Who lauglis, " Gk)od fellows ere this, by my fay, 
Cho. — Boot, saddle, to horse, and away ! " 

Who ? My wife Gertrude ; that, honest and 

Lianghs when yon talk of surrendering, ** Nay ! 
I 've better counsellors ; what counsel they ? 
Cho. — Boot, saddle, to horse, and away ! " 



/ 



i64 



DRAMATIC LYRICS 



THE LOST LEADER 



Browning was beset with questions by pe(»- 
ple asking if he referred to Wordsworth in this 
poem. He answered the question more than 
once, as an artist would : the following letter 
to Rey. A. B. Gbosart, the editor of Words- 
worth's Prose Works^ sufficiently states his po- 
sition. 

" 19 W«r?riok-Cre«oent, W., Feb. 24, '75. 

"" Deab Mb. Gbosabt, — I have been asked 
the question you now address me with, and as* 
duly answered it, I can't remember how many , 
times ; there is no sort of objection to one more^) 
assurance or rather confession, on my part, that V 
I did in my hasty youth presume to use tbA ^ 
great and venerated personality of Wordsworth 
as a sort of painter's model ; one from which 
this or the other particular feature may be 
selected and turned to account ; had I intended 
more, above all, such a boldness as portraying 
the entire man, I should not have talked about 
*■ handfuls of silver and bits of ribbon.' These 
never influenced the change of politics in the 
great poet, whose defection, nevertheless, ac- 
companied as ^ was by a regular face-about 
of his special party, was to my juvenile appre- 
hension, and even mature consideration, an 
event to deplore. But just as in the tapestry 
on my wall I can recognize figures which have 
struck out a fancy, on occasion, that though 
truly enough thus derived, yet would be pre- 
posterous as a copy, so, though I dare not deny 
the original of my little poem, I altogether Re- 
fuse to have it considered as the * very effigies ' 
of' such a moral and intellectual superiority. 
" Faithfully yours, 

" Robert BKOWNUfo." 

Just for a handful of silver he left us, 

Just for a riband to stick in his coat — 
Found the one gift of which fortune bereft us, 

Lost all the others she lets us devote : 
They, with the gold to give, doled him out 
silver, 
So much was theirs who so little allowed : 
How all our copper had gone for his service I 
Rags — were they purple, his heart had been 
proud ! 
We that had loved him so, followed him, hon- 
ored him, 
Lived in his mild and magnificent eye, 
Learned his great language, caught his clear 
accents, 
Made him our pattern to live and to die I 
Shakespeare was of us, Milton was for us, 
Bums, Shelley, were with us, — they watch 
from "their grav^ I 
He alone breaks nt>m the van and the freemen, 
— He alone sinks to the rear and the slaves ! 



.We shall march prospering, — not through his 
presence ; 
Songs may inspirit us, — not from his lyre : 
Deeds will be done, — while he boasts his 
quiescence. 
Still bidding crouch whom the rest bade 
aspire : 
Blot out his name, then, record one lost soul 
more. 
One task more declined, one more foot]Miifth 
untrod, 
(kie more devils'-triumph and sorrow for a&- 
^ gels, ^ 

One wrong more to man, one more msnlt to 
God! 
Life's night begins : let him never oome back 
to usi 
There wonld be doubt, hesitation and pain. 
Forced praise on our part — the glimmer ni. 
twilight, 



Never glad confident morning again ! 
^est fight on well, for we taugnt him — strike 
gallantiv, 

Menace our neart ere we master his own ; 
[Then let him receive the new knowledge and 
I wait us, 3 

\ Pardoned in heaven, the first by the throne ! , 






"HOW THEY BROUGHT THE GOOD 
NEWS FROM GHENT TO AIX" 

Browning wrote to an American inquirer 
about this poem : " There is no sort of histori- 
cal foundation for the poem about * Good News 
from Ghent.' I wrote it under the bulwark of 
a vessel, off the African coast, after I had been 
at sea long enough to appreciate even the tames 
of a gallop on the back of a certain good hone 
* York,' then in my stable at home. It was 
written in pencil on the fly-leaf of Bartoli't 
Simbolt, I remember." 



[16-] 



/ 



XsriiAKO to uie snrmp^ ana jons, ana ne^ 
I guloped, Dfrck galioped, we g^alloped a|l tt^ee ; 
** Good speed ! " cried the watch, as the gate- 



NO to the stirntp^ and Jo^s, and he 

" " «J^ 

the 

ts undrew ; ' 

"Speed ! '' echoed the wall to us galloping 

thnragh ; 
Behind shut the postern, the lights sank to 

rest. 
And into the midnight we galloped abreast. 

Not a word to each other > we kept the greafc 

pace 
Neck by neck, stride by stride, ^^ver ohaagiiiiK 

our place ; 
I turned in my saddle and made its girths tipilit. 
Then shortened each stirrup, Mid set the piqiie 

right. 
Rebuckled the cheek-strap, chained slacker ih» 

bit. 
Nor galloped less steadily Roland a whit. 



THROUGH THE METIDJA TO ABD-EL-KADR 



165 



Twas moonset at itartiiig ; but while we drew 

near 
Lokeren, the oocka crew and twitisrht dawned 

clear ; 
At Boom, a great yellow star came ont to see ; 
At Dnffeld, t was momii 



be; 



morning as plain as could 



And from Mecheln church-steeple we heard the 

half -chime, ^ 
So Joris broke silence with, "Yet there is 

time I" 

At Aenihot, ui> leaped of a sudden the sun, 
And against him the cattle stood hiaek eyery 

one. 
To stare through the mist at us fi;allopine past. 
And I saw my stout galloper Roland at last. 
With resolute diouldem, each butting away 
Thi haze, as some bluff river headland its spray : 

And his low head and crest, just one sharp ear 

bent back 
For my voice, and the other pricked out on his 

track; 
And one eye's black intelligence, — ever that 



O'er its white edge at me, his own master, 

askance I 
And the thick heavy spume-flakes which aye 

and anon 
ffis fierce lips shook upwards in galloping' on. 



fij Hasselt, Dirok groaned ; and cried Joris, 
'* Stay spur I 

Tonr Boos galloped bravely, the fault 's not in 
her. 

We '11 rcanember at Aix '* — for one heard the 
quick wheeze 

Of her diest, saw the stretched neck and stag- 
gering knees. 

And suik tail, and horrible heave of the flank. 

Aa down on ner haunches she shuddered and 



So, we were left gaUoping, Joris and I, 
Past Looz and past Tongres, no cloud in the sky ; 
Hw broad sun above laughed a pitiless laugh, 
'Neath our feet broke the brittle bright stubblqjw 

like chaff : ^ 

Tin over by Dalnem a dome-spire sprani^ white, • 
And ^^GraUop," gasped Joris, "for Aix is in 

sight r' 

"" How they '11 greet us !" — and all in a moment 

his roan 
RoUed neck and croup over, lay dead as a stone ; 
And there was my jKoland to bear the whole 

weight 
Of the news which alone could save Aix from 

her fate, 
With his nostrils like pits fuU of blood to the 

brim. 
Aid with circles of red for his eye-«ockets' lim. 

IWa I cast loose my bnffcoat, each holster let 

oMok off both my jack-boots, let go belt and all, 



Stood up in the stirrup, leaned, patted his ear. 

Called my Roland his pet-name, my horse with- 
out peer ; 

Clapped my hands, laughed and sang, any noise, 
bad or eood, 

Till at length into Ai^Roland galloped and 
stoodT 

And all I remember is — friends flocking round 
As I sat with his head 'twizt my knees on the 

ground; 
And no voice but was praising this Roland of 

mine, 
As I poured down his throat our last measure 

of wine. 
Which (the burgesses voted by common consent) 
Was no more than lus due who brought good 

news from Ghent. 



THROUGH THE METIDJA TO ABD-EI^ 

KADR 

As I ride, as I ride, 

With a full heart for my guide, 

So its tide rocks my side. 

As I ride, as I ride. 

That, as 1 were double-eyed. 

He. in whom our Tribes confide, 

Is aesoried, ways untried. 

As I ride, as I ride. « 

As I ride, as I ride 

To our Chief and his Allied, 

Who dares chide my heart's pride 

As I ride, as I ride r 

Or are witnesses denied — 

Through the desert waste and wide 

Do I glide unespied . 

As I ride, as I ride ? 

As I ride, as I ride. 

When an inner voice has cried, ^ 

The sands slide, nor abide 

(As I ride, as I rid^) 

O'er each visioned homicide 

That came vaunting (hto he lied ?) 

To reside — where he died. 

As I ride, as I ride. 

As I ride, as I ride. 

Ne'er has spur my swift horse plied. 

Yet his hide, streaked and pica. 

As I ride, as I ride, 

Shows where sweat has sprung and dried, 

— Zebra-footed, ostrich-tnighed — 

How has vied stride with stride 

As I ride, as I ride I 

As I ride, as I ride. 

Could I loose what Fate has tied. 

Ere I pried, she should hide 

(As I ride, as I ride) 

All that 's meant me — satisfied 

When the Prophet and the Bride 

Stop veins I 'd have subside 

As 1 ride, as I ride ! 



i66 



DRAMATIC LYRICS 



NATIONALITY IN DRINKS 

The first two of this group, under the titles 
Claret and Tokay, were published in HoocTs 
Magazine<t June, 1844, at the request of Richard 
Monckton Milnes, who was editing the magazine 
during Hood's illness. The third, first entitled 
Beer, was called out by the description of Nel- 
son's coat at Greenwich, given by tiie captain of 
the vessel in which Browning was sailing to Italy. 



Mt heart sank with our Claret-flask, 
Just now, beneath the hea^r sedges 

That serve this pond's black face for mask ; 
And still at yonder broken edges 

O' the hole, where up the bubbles glisten. 

After my heart I look and listen. . 

Our laughing little flask, compelled 

Through depth to depth more bleak and 
shady ; 
As when, both arms beside her held. 

Feet straightened out, some gay fVench lady 
Is caught up from life's light and motion. 
And £opped into death's silent ocean I 

11 

— Up jumped Tokay on our table, 
Like a pygmy castle-warder, 
Dwarfisn to see, but stout and able, 
Airms and accoutrements all in order ; 

And fierce he looked North, then, wheeliiig 

South, 
Blew with ms bfigle a.challenge to Drouth, 
Cooked his flap-hat wilJi the tosspot-feather, 
Twisted his thumb in his red moustache. 
Jingled his huge brass spurs together. 
Tightened his waist with its Buda sash. 
And then, with an impudence naught oould 

aba^, 
Shrugeed his hump-shoulder, to tell the be- 
holder, 
For twentjr such knaves he should laugh but 

the bolder: 
And so, with his sword-hilt gallantly jutting, 
And dexter-hand on his haunch abutting. 
Went the little man, Sir Ansbruch, strutting ! 

Ill 

— Here 's to Nelson's memory I 
'Tis the second time that I, at sea. 
Right ofiF Ca^ Trafalgar here. 
Have drunk it deep in British Beer. 
NeLwn forever — any time 

Am I his to command in prose or rhyme I 
Give me of Nelson only a touch. 
And I save it, be it little or much : 
Here 's one our Captain gives, and so 
Down at the word, by George, shall it go ! 
He says that at Greenwich they point the he- 
holder 
To Nelson's coat, " still with tar on the shoulder : 



For he used to lean with one shoulder digging, 
Jigging, as it were, and zigsEag^zigging 
Up against the mizzen>rigging ! " 



GARDEN FANCIES 

These two poems also api>eared in HbotTi 
Magazine, July, 1844. 

I. THE flower's NAME 

HsRE 's the garden she walked across, 

Arm in my arm, such a short while since: 
Hark, now 1 push its wicket, the moss 

Hinders the hinges and makes tJ^em wince ! 
She must have reached this shrub ere she turned, 

As back with that murmur the wicket swung ; 
For she laid the poor snail, my chance foot 
spumed, 

To feed and forget it the leaves among. 

Down this ride of the gravel-walk 

She went while her robe's edge brushed die 
box: 
And here she paused in her gracious talk 

To point me a moth on the milk-white phlox. 
Roses, ranged in valiant row, 

I will never think that she passed yon by ! 
She loves you, noble roses, I know ; 

But yonder, see, where the rock-plants lie ! 

This flower she stopped at, finger on lip, 

Stooped over, in doubt, as settling ite claim ; 
Till she gave me, with pride to make no riip, 

Its soft meandering Spanish name : 
What a name ! Was it love or praise ? 

Speech half -^eep or song hali-awake ? 
I must leam Spaniui, one of these days. 

Only for that slow sweet name's sake. 

Roses, if I live and do well, 

I may brii^ her, one of these days. 
To fix you fast with as fine a spell. 

Fit yon each with his Spanish phrase ; 
But do not detain me now ; for sne lingen 

There, like sunshine over the grouiu^ 
And ever I see her soft white fingers 

Searching after the bud she found. 

Flower, you Spaniard, look that yoa grow not, 

Sta^ as you are and be loved forever 1 
Bud, if I Kiss you 't is that you blow not. 

Mind. *he shut pink mouth opens never ! 
For wh;]. it. pouts, her fingers wrestle, 

rwinkiin^' the audacious leaves between. 
Till rtkiinri they turn and down ^ey nestle — 

Is rot tilt' voar mark still to be seen ? 

Wlipre I finri her not, beauties vanish ; 

Wliither 1 follow her, beauties flee ; 
1 % ' lure no n.ethod to tell her in Spanoah 

Jiiiit' ^» twice June since she breathed it 



mo 



•» 



(Vitifj. biuJ. :4how me the least of her «_ 
'I rt^iisure my lady's lightest footfall ! 

- \}\, yt.u Toay flout and turn up yonr 
)i()8tw, > on are not so fair after aJl I 



^^SOLILOQUY OF THE SPANISH 



i69 



II. SIBRANDUS^SCHAFNABURGENSIS 

Plainie take aU yonr t^daiita, aay 1 1 
^who wrote what X hold in my hand, 
Centuries back was so good as to die, 
^v^ this rubbish to onmber the land ; 
This, that was a book in its tJn?e^ , 

ftiited on paper and bound in leather, 
liiXth in the white of » pf t^°;P™*' 

Jo8t when the birds sang aU together. 

bto the garden I brought it to wad. 
And nnder the arbute and laurustane 

Read it, so help me grace m my need. 
From title-page to closmg Ime. 

Chapter on chapter did 1 count, 

^Tcurious teaveller counts Sconehenge ; 

Added np the mortal amount ; 
And then proceeded to my revenge. 

Yonder 's a plum-tree with a crevice 
A?owl would buUd in, were he but sage ; 

Per a kp of moss, like » ^^e. pont-levis 
In a caatle of the Middle Age, 

Jbms to a lip of gum, pure amber ;^ 

^V^ heM be private, there might he spend 

Hours alone in his lady's chj™^'!-^ , 
Into this crevice I dropped our f nend. 

Splash, went he, as under he d™«k®4i, . .„__ 
^--At the bottom, I knew, rain-dnppings 

Next, atSSf J of blossoms I plnpked 
^^b^im with, my bookshe f's magmtte ; 

ITien I went in-doo«, brought jut a lo^, 
Half a cheese, and a botde of Chablis ; 

Uy on the erass and f o^^ot the oat 
Orer a jolly chapter of Rabelais. 

Now, this morning, betwixt Ae moss 
And^m that locked our fnend m hmbo, 

A midar had spun his web across, 
Sd 4ttn tfcmidst with arms akimbo : 

So, I took pity, for learmng s sake, 

Caiuaie ' ouoth I, as I got a rake ; 
^SlnplfiShed his delectable treatise. 

Bere you have it, dry in the sun, 
WiS^all the binding all of a bW, 

A«d great blue spot« where the mk has ran, 
Ai^ reddish streaks that wink and gbster 

Ccrdie i>age so beautif uUy yeUow : 
StTweluhave the droppings played their 

h^^ How toadstoob grow, this fel- 
'^'rone stuck in Ikfis chapter ax I 



And the n€,j|^er all his schemes, . ,_^^.. 
prefacT c^nirades, what their dreams ; 
As tiled i^^k^hMte,^' I said, " to pray 
, . , from his soul away ; 
AH that life j^jn^Qg but not the same 

All that fr a ♦ m^ht he never came. 
WhUe slow! ^^ 

swamp^f.. on the after-room. 

And clasps ^^h a strength new-bom. 

As if you haa.33 empty ; something drew 

To the play-the street ; I knew 
Fastened him [^e market-place : 
And dance^ high, the father's face I 
tunic. 

^i£» YilAAk scaffold dressed. 
Come, oldi^JtWoSf T! God sink the rest I 

Back U^^^^d back, that blinding vest, 
^ , aeliott^hands and naked breast, 

^^"hyjr one busy hangman pressed, 
. ?®® ^n the neck these arms caressed . . . 

A. 8 00 

. ^/hrt in aught Aey hope or f earl 
^ V ^ven with them, no heU ! - and here, 
^"Wth, not so much 8pa<» as pens 
:>ody in their worst of dens 
shall bear God and man my cry, 
» —lies, agam -and still, they lie I 



How did he Hke it wheU the Uve cre^w 
**^5,5jSd and toused\ and browsed h 

* J ^fT' nine eft wibh serious fea*^ 
Asd woriii, slug, eix, JJVjJ^^ut of 
Came in, each one, fo^^^PK**;.^ 
When the water-be*' ""if. 



^ ■ CRISTINA 

grat 

a, « Bells and Pomegranates, this poem was 

^J^\ second of a group headed Queenr^orshtp, 

^ ' first being B-udd and the Lady qf Trtpolu 

Gr-- 

, Wt Bhould never have looked at me 

" hi» she meant I should not love her I 

Goto are plenty . . . men. you call such, 
^VS^Wpose ... she may discover 
^Oa-ier soul to, if she pleases, 
Needed vet leave much as she found them . 
Hel^ 'to not so, and she knew it 

len she fixed me, glancing round them. 
At thf 

^**4t ? To fix me thus meant nothing ? 
'Wiseat I can't tell (there 's my weakness) 
^J^'tit her look said 1 — no vile cant, sure, 
-^^^Kbout " need to strew the bleakness 
^ some lone shore with its pearl-seed, 
^^at the sea feels " —no *' stranee yearmng 

hat such souls have, most to lavish ^^ 

^ Where there 's chance of least returning. 

-jOh, we 're sunk enough here, God knows ! 
» But not ouite so sunk that moments, 
. Sure though seldom, are denied us. 
When the spirit's true'endowments 
Stand out plainly from its false ones, 

And apprise it if pursuing 
Or the right way or the wrong way. 
To its triumph or undoing^. 



Made of her eggs t 




k 



There are flashes stmck from midnirfits, 
There are fire-flames noondavs kmdle, 

Y^ereby piled-up honors perish, 
Whereby swollen ambitions dwrnoie, 



^ \ 



/ 



i66 



DRDRAMATIC LYRICS 



NATIONALITY IN DRINKS 

The first two of this group, under 1 
Claret and Tokay, were published ii 
Magazine, June, 1844, at the request of 
Monckton Milnes, who was editing the r 
during Hood's illness. The third, first _ 
Beer, was called out by the desoriptiorj ; 
8on*8 coat at Greenwich, giyeu by the ilp. 
the vessel in which Browning was sailini 

Mt heart sank with our Claret-flask, 
Just now, beneath the heavv sedges ible ? 

That serve this pond's black race for mask , 
And still at yonder broken edges \\b 

O' the hole, where up the bubbles glisten, 

After my heart I look and listen. . 

Our laughing little flask, compelled 
Through depth to depth more bleak and 
shady; 

As when, Irath arms beside her held. 
Feet straightened out, some gay fVench lady 

Is caught up from life's light and motion. 

And dropped into death's silent ocean I 

n 

— Up jumped Tokay on our table, 

Like a pygmy castle-warder, 

Dwarfisn to see, but stout and able. 

Arms and accoutrements all in order ; 

And fierce he looked North, dien, wheeling 

South, 
Blew with his bfigle authallenge to Drouth^ 
Cooked his flap-hat with the tosspot-feather, 
Twisted his thumb in his red moustache. 
Jingled his huge brass spurs togeUier, 
Tightened his waist with its Buda sash, 
And then, with an impudence naught could 

abash. 
Shrugged his hump-«houlder, to teU the be- 
holder. 
For twenty such knaves he should laugh but 

the bolder: 
And so, with his sword-hilt gallantly jutting, 
And dexteivhand on his haunch abutting. 
Went the little man, Sir Ausbmch, strutting ! 

Ill 

— Here 's to Nelson's memory I 
'T is the second time that I, at sea, 
Right ofiF Ca^ Trafaljgrar here, 
Have drunk it deep in British Beer. 
Nelson forever — any time 
Am I his to command in prose or rhyme 1 
Give me of Nelson only a touch. 
And I save it, be it little or much : 
Here 's one our Captain gives, and so 
Down at the word, by George, shall it go ! 
He says that at Greenwich tney point the he- 
holder 
To Nelson's coat, " still with tar on the shoulder : 



e, 



1 

T? 



While they laugh, laugh sit me, at me fled to 

the drear ; 

Empty church, to pray G.t)d in, for them! —1 

am here. . . A 

Grind away, moisten ax^d mash up thv paste, 
Pound at thy powder, — I am not in haste ! 
Better sit thus, and observe thy strange tiiina, 
Than go where men wait me and diuioe at ute 



gOT 



ig's 



That in tiie mortar — you call it a gum ? 
Ah, iiie brave tree whence such gold ooeiiigi 



come! 

And yonder soft phial, the exquisite bine, 
Sure to taste sweetly, •— is that poison too ? 

Had I but all of them, thee and thy tzeasnies, 
What a wild orowd of invisible pleasures ! 
To carry pure death in an earring, a casket, 
A signet, a fan-mount, a filigree basket ! 

Soon, at the King's, a mere lozenge to piive, 
And Pauline should have just thirty mmntea to 

live ! 
But to light a pastile, and Elise, with her head 
And her breast and her arms and her haods, 

should drop dead I 

Quick — is it finished ? The color 's too grim ! 
Why not soft like the phial's, enticbg ud 

dim? . . 

Let it brighten her drink, let her turn it and 

stir. 
And try it and taste, ere she fix and prefer I 

What a drop I She 's not little, no minioa Kke 

That 's why she ensnared him : this never ▼ill 

free ,. 

The soul from those mascuhne eyes,— eaj. 

To that pulse's magnificent come-and-go. 

For only hist night, as they whispered, I hro«gi» 
My own eyes to bear on her so, that I ti^ought 
Could I keep them one half mmute fixed, aW 

would fall .^ 11 1 

Shrivelled ; she f eU not ; yet this does it aU ! 

Not that I bid you spare her the pwn ; 
Let deatli be felt and the proof remam : 
Brand, bum up, bite into its grace — 
He is sure to remember her dying race I 



Is it done ? Take my mask off ! Nay, be wA 

morose; • .^ i . 

It kills her, and this preyente seeing it dew . 
Wi The delicate droplet, mV whole fortune s tM I 
WM 7l** hurts her, beside, dm it ever hurt me? 
Whither f 

lithereuo^ 1^ all my jew 

.Mill" 'k t a 11 

/ < 11^ 1 .'kiss me, old 
» ome. bud, shof 

Tn'iwure my lakja jugt off 
- ^h, yi.u may fl^t—next : 
Jioses, you are now 



I, gorge gold to your 

on my mouth if yoi 

lest horror it biingl 
iDt I dance at tai 



■ t 



■"*• -- 



^ 



CRISTINA 



169 



VFESSIONAL 



SPAIN 



»l 



I > 

i 
I. 






. ■ rt 111 
t. (1 > ."l 



I 



Ti.^:*-^ 






' ^ests, their Pope, 
.- . all Uiey fear or hope 
bare I through my door 
md walls and floor, 
- shall still be hurled 
1 «ach the world I 

st and holy men I 
in this den 
ore too, 

I like one of you, 
'in beaaty*s pride 
I 1.S orld outside. 

ae avaunt ! 
1 bod^, grim and gaunt, 
r till it burned, 
love e'er turned 
it :^ one night they kissed 
imingmist. 

' the accustomed train 
*nd my sense again, 
J said : and slow 
\*-!& to church I go, 
' ) , if ession-chair. 



' ! U c>> • lei .ild father there. 



Bot vhpn * fr.'- 



Beltran's name, 

father : ^^ much I blame 

efore idly griere ? 



jTu^ .iiu : }r< t »* ' efore idl 
Despo: r :o* - ■ . » uuously retrieye I 
Nay, I tf-i: 1 1: -lis love of thine 
To 1 ivful iv>ve /'uost diyine ; 

* Fo- K ii J V . .. and led astray, 
'^».;<s h-Afi- »j. 'he schemes, men say, 

* ■ t •iJ44s;< Ut< - ■ 8 of church and state ; 
t A thrift >'i'- 1! i m angel's fate, 

Wk * pK ikit ' uu der breaks, should roll 
lis * a Ti.l .V, . . .)..,! aaye his soul. 



(4 .• 






■ ..4 upon thy breast, 
lana and be possessed 
. •! 'ad next day steal 

•' t.'i : '^'jse plans reveal, 
<r L .. ^. priest, to purge 
- >< . I', tadtand use the scourge." 

' • ii - » K-/ird was long and white,^ 

- uir< I > Ui his brow seemed bright ; 






'U fire with joy, 
r'ening, bade the boy 
shoula, heart-free, 
^ : i • re his love of me. 

Tic f' ut ac *x\i he would not tell 
1 jff b 'i> i>t h>*. V. n or fear of hell ; 
A*4 1 h I '..^f 1 .tig in such pride I ^ 
Aad. Mi s •« h* ^ad left my side, \ 
Kn^ ^ tH« t^'orch by mominjg^igM: 
T^ 9A%9 \ m wuaA . >i his despite. s 



I told the father all his schemes. 
Who were his comrades, what tneir dreams ; 
*'*' And now make haste, ^' I said, ** to pray 
The one spot from his soul away ; 
To-night he comes, but not the same 
Will look ! " At night he never came. 

Nor next night : on the after-mom, 
I went forth with a strength new-bom. 
The church was empty ; something drew 
My steps into the street ; I knew 
Itled me to the market-place : 
Where, lo, on high, the father's face ! 

That horrible black scaffold dressed, 
That stapled block . . . God sink the rest I 
That head strapped back, that blinding vest. 
Those knotted nands and naked breast. 
Till near one busy hangman pressed, 
And, on the neck these arms caressed . . . 

No part in ai^ht they hope or fear I 
No nr iven with them, no hell I — and here. 
No earth, not so much space as pens 
My bodv in their worst of dens 
But shaiil bear God and man mv cry. 
Lies — lies, again — and still, they lie I 



CRISTINA 

In Bells and Pomegranates, this poem was 
the second of a group headed Qu&ht^W^orship, 
the first being Rudel and the Lady of Tripoli. 

She should never have looked at me 

If she meant I should not love her ! 
There are plenty . . . men. you call such, 

I suppose . . . she may aisoover 
All her soul to, if she pleases. 

And yet leave much as she foimd them : 
But I 'm not so, uid she knew it 

When she fixed me, glancing round them. 

What ? To fix me thus meant nothing ? 

But I can't tell (there 's m^ weakness) 
What her look said 1 — no vile cant, sure, 

About ** need to strew the bleakness 
Of some lone shore with its pearl-seed. 

That the sea feels " — no * strange yearning 
That such souls have, most to lavish 

Where there ^s chance of least returning.^ 

Oh. we 're sunk enough here, God knows ! 

But not quite so sunk that moments. 
Sure though seldom, are denied us, 

When the ^irit's true "endowments 
Stand out plainly from its false ones. 

And apprise it if pursuing 
Or the rignt way or the wrong way, 

To its triumph or undoing. 

There are flashes struck from midnights. 
There are fire-flames noondays kindle. 

Whereby piled-up honors perish, 
Whereby swollen ambitions dwindle, 



i» 



1. i J. 



170 



DRAMATIC LYRICS 



While just this or that poor impulse, 
Which for once had play unstifled, 

Seems the sole work of a lifetime, 
That away the rest hare trifled. 



Doubt yon if, in some snoh moment, 
As she fixed me, she felt clearly, 

A^es past the soul existed, 

^Here an aee 't is resting: merely. 

And hence fleets again for i^ros. 
While the true end, sole and single, 

It stops here for is, this love-way, 
With some other soul to mingle ? 

Else it loses what it lived for, 

And eternally must lose it ; 
Better- ends may be in prospect. 

Deeper blisses (if you choose it),^ 
But this lifers end and this love-bliss 

Have been lost here. Doubt you whether 
This she felt as, looking at me, 

Mine and her s ouls rushed tc^ther ? 

Oh, observe I Of course, next moment. 

The world^s honors, in derision. 
Trampled out the light forever:^ 

Never fear but there *s provision 
Of the devil^s to quench knowledge 

Lest we walk the earth in rapture ! 
— Making those who catch God^s secret 

Just so much more prize their capture I 

Such am I : the secret 's mine now I 

She has lost me, I have gained her ; 
Her soul ^s mine : and thus, grown perfect, 

I shall pass my lifers remainder. 
Life will just hold out the proving 

Both our powers, alone and blended : 
And then, come the next life quickly ! 

This world's use will have been ended. 



THE LOST MISTRESS 

AiiL 's over, then : does truth sound bitter 

As one at first believes ? 
Hark, 't is the sparrows* good-night twitter 

About your cottage eaves I 

And the leaf-buds on the vine are woolly, 

I noticed that, to-day ; 
One dav more bursts them open fully 
— You know the red turns gray. 

To-morrow we meet the same then, dearest ? 

May I take your hand in mine ? 
Mere friends are we, — well, friends the merest 

Keep much that I resign : 

For each glance of the eye so bright and black 
Though I keep with heart's endeavor, — 

Your voice, when you wish the snowdrops back. 
Though it stay in my soul forever I — 

Yet I will but say what mere friends say. 

Or only a thought stronger ; 
I will hold your hand but as long as all may. 

Or so very little longer I 



EARTH'S IMMORTAL 



FAME 



TIES 



See, as the prettiest graves will do in.^^f'. 
Our poet's wants the freshness of its pivT^^ 
Spite of the sexton's browsing horse, th^ ^^ . 
Have struggled through its binding osier ' 
Headstone and half-sunk footstone lean a>^\ 
Wanting the brick-work promised by-and- {L* 
How the minute gray lichens, plate o'er pi ^ 
Have softened down the orisp-cut naiAe 
date I 

LOVE 

So, the year 's done with I 

(Love me forever !) 
All March begun with, 

April's endeavor ; 
May-wreaths that bound me 

June needs must sever ; 
Now snows fall round me, 

Quenching June's fever — 

(Love me forever !) 



MEETING AT NIGHT 

r 

This and its companion piece were published 
originally simply as Night and Morning. ' 

The gray sea and the long blacdc land ; 
And the yellow half -moon large and low ; 
And the startled little waves that leap 
In fiery ringlets from their sleep, 
As I gain the cove with pushing prow. 
And quench its speed i' the slushy sand. 



Then a mile of warm sea-scented beach ; 
Three fields to cross till a farm appears ; 
A tap at the pane, the quick sharp scratch 
And olue spurt of alighted match. 
And a voice less loud, through its joys 

fears. 
Than the two hearts beating each to each ! 



and 



PARTING AT MORNING 

Round the cape of a sudden came the 
And the sim looked over the mount^n*8 
And straight was a path of gold for him. 
And the need of a world of men for me. 



SONG 

Nat but y^n, who do not love her. 
Is she no pure gold, my mistress ? 

Holds earth aught — speak truth — above Her' 
Aught like this tress, see, and this tress. 

And this Vjat fairest tress of all. 

So fair, ^e, ere I let it fall ? 

Becaus|6 ^ou spend your lives in praising ; 
To Praise, you search the wide world over : 



v^^ 



LOVE AMONG THE RUINS 



17' 



Tlieii wky not witnaas, calmly eazingf 
If eartn holds aofirlit — speak trath 
her? 
Above this tress, and this, I touch 
Bnt eamot praise, Ilore so mnoh I 



A WOMAN'S LAST WORD 

Let 's contend no more, Love, 

StriTe nor weep : 
An he as hef ore, Lotc, 

— Only sleep ! 

What so wild as words are ? 

I and thou 
In debate, as birds are. 

Hawk on bongh ! 

See the creature stalking 

While we speak I 
Hnsh and hide the talking. 

Cheek on cheek I 

What so false as tmth is, 

False to thee ? 
Where the serpent^s tooth is 

j^iin the tree — 

Where the apple reddens 

Never pry — 
Lest we lose onr Edens, 

Ere and I. 

Be a god and hold me 

With a charm I 
Be a man and fold me 

With thine arm ! 

Teach me, only teach, Loye I 

As I ought 
I will spesJc thy speech, Love, 

Think thy thought — 

Meet, if thou require it, 

Both demands, 
Laying flesh and spirit 

In thy hands. 

That shall be to-morrow. 

Not to-night : 
I must bury sorrow 

Oat of sight : 

— Most a little weep. Love, 

(Foolish me !) 
And so fall asleep, Loye, 



aboye 



Loved by thee. 



EVELYN HOPE 



BtAunruLt Eveljm Hope is dead ! 

St and watch by her side an hour. 
IW b her book-shelf, this her bed ; 

She iilncked that piece of ger» ninm- 
ocnsuiur to die too, in the glas^ ; ^ 

Utile has yet been changed, I think :r 




The shutters are shut, no light ma^r pass 
Save two long rays through the hinge's chink. 

Sixteen years old when she died ! 

Perhaps she had scarcely heard my name ; 
It was not her time to love ; beside, 

Her life had many a hope and aim. 
Duties enough and little cares. 

And now was quiet, now astir, 
Till Gk)d's hand beckoned unawares, — 

And the sweet white brow is all of her. 

Is it too late then, Evelyn Hope ? 

What, your sou was pure and true, 
The gocMl stars met in your horoscope, 

Made you of spirit, fire and dew — 
And, just because I was thrice as old 

Ana our paths in the world diverged so wide, 
Each was naught to each, must I be told ? 

We were fefiow mortals, naught beside ? 

No, indeed I for God above 

Is great to grant, as mighty to make. 
And creates the love to reward the love : 

I claim you still, for my own love's sake ! 
Delayed it may be for more lives yet, 

Tmrough worlds I shall traverse, not a few : 
Much is to learn, much to forget 

Ere the time be come for taking you. 

But the time will come, — at last it will, 

When, Evelyn Hope, what meant (I shall say) 
In the lower earth, in the years long still. 

That body and soul so pure and gay ? 
Why your hair was amber, I shall divine. 

And your mouth of your own geranium's 
red — 
And what you would do with me, in fine, 

In the new life come in the old one's stead. 

I have lived (I shall say) so much since then, 

GKven up myself so many times, 
Gained me the guns of various men. 

Ransacked the ages, spoiled the climes ; 
Tet one thin^, one, in my soul's full scope, 

Either I missed or itself missed me : 
And I want and find you, Evelyn Hope t 

What is the issue ? let us see I 

I loved yon, Evelyn, all the while 1 

My heart seemed full as it could hold ; 
There was place and to spare for the frank 
young smile, 
And the red yoimg mouth, and the hair's 
young gold. 
So, hush, — I will give you this leaf to keep : 

iSee, I shut it inside the sweet cold hand I 
There, that is our secret : go to deep I 
You will wake, and remember, and under- 
stand. 



LOVE AMONG THE RUINS 

Whsbb the quiet-colored end of evening smiles 

Miles and miles 
On the solitary pastures where ouf sheep 
sic 



Half -asleep 



J 



\ 



172 



DRAMATIC LYRICS 



Tinkle homeward through the twilight, stray 
or stop 

Aa they crop — ^ 
Was the site once of a city great and gay, 

(So they say) 
Of our country^s very capital, its prince 

Ages since 
Held his court in, gathered council^, wielding ^ar 

Peace or war. 

Now, — the country does not even boast a tree, 

^ As you see. 
To distinguish slopes of verdure, certain rills 

from the hills 
Intersect and give a name to, (else they run 

Into one,) 
Where the domed and daring palace shot its 
spires 
Up like fires 
O'er the hundred-gated circuit of a wall 

Bounding all. 
Made of marble, men might march on nor be 
pressed. 
Twelve abreast. 

And such plenty and perfection, see, of grass 

Never was 1 
Such a carpet as, this summer-time, overspreads 

And embeds 
Every vestige of the city, guessed alone. 

Stock or stone — 
Where a multitude of men breathed joy and woe 

Long ago: 
Lust of glory pricked their hearts up, dread of 
shame 

Struck them tame ; 
And that glorv and that shame alike, the gold 

Bought and sold. 

Now, — the single little turret that remains 

On tibe plains, 
By the caper overrooted, by the gourd 

Chrerscored, 
While the patching houseleek's head of blos- 
som winks 
Through the chinks — 
Marks the basement whence a tower in ancient 
time 
Sprang sublime, 
And a burning ring, all round, the chariots 
traced 
As they raced, 
And the monarch and his minions and his 
dames 
Viewed the games. 

And I know, while thus the quiet-colored eve 

Smiles to leave 
To their folding, all our many-tinkling fleece 

In such peace, 
And the slopes and rills in undistinguished 
gray 

Melt away — 
That a girl with eager eyes and yellow hair 

Walts me mere 
In the turret whence the charioteers caught 
soul 

For the goal. 



When the king looked, where she looks now, 
breathless, dumb 
Till I come. 

But he looked upon the city, every side,- 

Far and wide. 
All the mountains topped with temples, all the 
glades* 
Colonnades, 
All the causeys, bridgres, aqueducts, — and then, 

All the men I 
When I do come, she will speak not, she will 
stand. 
Either hand 
[On my shoulder, give her eyes the first embrace 
Of my face, 
we rush, ere we extinguish sight and speech 
Eacn on each. 

In one year they sent a million fighters fortli 

South and North, 
And they built their gods a brazen pilW high 

As the sky. 
Yet reserved a thousand chariots in full force — 

Gold, of course. 
Oh heart 1 oh blood that freezes, blood that 
bums I 

Earth's returns 
For whole centuries of folly, noise and sin 1 

Shut them in. 
With their triumphs and their glories and the 
rest I 

Love is best. 



A LOVERS' QUARREL 

Oh, what a dawn of day ! 

How the March sun feels like May ! 

All is blue again 

After last night's rain. 
And the Souti^ dries the hawthomrspray. 

Only, my Love 's away ! 
I *d as liei that the blue were gray. 

Runnels, which rillets swell. 
Must be df sing down the aell. 

Wit- foaming head 

On th beryl bed 
Paven sm^th as a hermit's cell ; 

Each with a tale to tell. 
Could my Love but attend as well. 

Dearest, three months ago ! 

When we lived blocked-up with snow, — 

When the wind would edge 

In and in his wedge. 
I as far as the t>oint could go — 

Not to our ingle, though, 
^ ^^re we loved each the other so I 

ids eK^ ^^ ^ little cause ! 
Aueht li*®^ games out of straws, 

\ this l^t'^**'*^*^ ^^ ^^^ *™** 
l:_ oA« I'-nother's face 

1 ^' 9^®» ®-is in artist draws ; 

'^,,a«. )ach other's flaws, 

^ ZEfc? you ."^ ^^ *^° "»"^ *"» ' 



/ 



A LOVER'S QUARREL 



173 



What's in the " Times "? — a neold 
At the £mp6for deep and oold ; 

He has taken a bride 

To his graesome side, 
That 's as fair as himself is bold: 

There they sit ermine-stoled, 
And she powdera her hair with gold. 

Fancy the Pampas' sheen I 

Miles and miles of gold and green 

Where the snnflowers blow 

In a solid glow. 
And — to break now and then the screen — 

Black neck and eyeballs keen. 
Up a wild horse leaps between ! 

Try, will oar table tnm ? 

Lay yonr hands there light, and yearn 

1111 the yearning slifM 

Tnroiigh the fii^r-tips 
Lt a fire which a few diaoem. 

And a yery few feel bom. 
And the rest, they may lire and learn ! 

Then we would np and pace. 
Far a change, about the place. 

Each with arm o'er neck : 

T is our (jnarter-deck, 
We are seamen m woeful case. 

Help in the ocean-space ! 
Or, if no uelp, we '11 embrace. 

See, how she looks now, dressed 
In a Bled^gH»p and yest I 

'T IS a hu^ fur cloak — 

Like a remdeer's yoke 
FUls the lappet along the breast : 

Sleeves for her arms to rest. 
Or to hang, as my Love likes best. 

Teach me to flirt a fan 
As the Spanish ladies can. 

Or I tint your lip 

WiUi a burnt stick's tip 
And yon torn into such a man ! 

Just the two spots that pvwi 
Half the bill of the young ma> fwau. 

^Mrest, three months ago 
When the meamerizer Snow '^ 

With his hand's first swof j) 

Pat the earth to sleep : 
^was a time when the heart f.ould nhow 

All — how was earth to know. , 

^eath the mute hand's to-and-fro V 

j^vest, three months ago 

When we loved each other so, 
Lived and loved the same 
Till an eveniiup came^ ' ^ 

When a shaft from tne devil's jow 

Pierced to our iuf^le-glow, -*' y 

And the friends were friend mid f^J 

Sot from the beart beneath — '^^ a^ 
T was a bubble bom of brea' h ^"^'^^ ^• 

Neither aneer nor van' i^^k: I 

Nor reproach nor taui 



See a word, how it severeth I 

Oh, power of life and death 
In the tongue, as the Preacher saith I 

Woman, and will you cast 
For a word, quite ofiF at last 

Me, your own, your You, — 

Since, as truth is true, 
I was You all the happy past — 

Me do you leave i^hast 
With the memories We amassed ? 

Love, if you knew the light 
That your soul casts in my sight. 

How I look to you 

For the pure and true,^ 
And the beauteous and the right, — 

Bear with a moment's spite 
When a mere mote threats the white ! 

What of a hasty word ? 

Is the fleshly heart not stirred 
By a worm's pin-prick 
Where its roots are quick ? 

See the eye, by a fly's-foot olurred — 
Ear, when a straw is heard 

Scratch the brain's coat of curd I 

Foul be the world or fair 

More or less, how can I care ? 
'T is the world the same 
For my praise or blame. 

And endurance is easy there. 

Wrong in the one thing rare — 

Oh, it is hara to bear I 

Here 's the spring back or close. 
When the almond-blossom blows ; 

We shall have the word 

In a minor third. 
There is none but the cuckoo knows : 

Heaps of the guelder-rose ! 
I must bear with it, 1 suppose. 

< "' ►tdd but November come, 
Wore the noisy birds struck dumb 

At the warning slash 

Of his driver's-lash — 
I would laugh like the valiant Thumb 

Facing the castle glum 
And the giant's fee-faw^m I 

Then, were the world well stripped 

( >i the gear wherein equipped 
We can stand apart. 
Heart dispense with hearty 

in the sun, with the flowers unnipped. - 
Oh, the world's hangings nppea. 

We were both in a bare- walled crypt I 

'Cach in the crypt would cry 

^ But one freezes here ! and why ? 
When a heart, as chill, 
At my own would thrill 

Back to life, and its fires out-fly ? 
Heart, shall we live or die ? 

The rest, . . . settle by and by I " 



I 



174 



DRAMATIC LYRICS 



So, she 'd efface ihe score, 
Axid foTRiye me as before. 

It is twelve o'dook : 

I shall hear her knock 
In the worst of a storm's uproar, 

I shall pull her through the door, 
I shall have her for evermore I 



UP AT A VILLA — DOWN IN THE CITY 

(as distinguished by an italian person op 

quality) 

Hai> I but plenty of money, money enough and 

to spare. 
The house for me, no doubt, were a house in the 

cityHK^uare ; 
Ah, such a life, such a life, as one leads at the 

window there ! 

Something to see, by Bacchus, something to 

hear, at least I 
There, the whole day long, one's life is a perfect 

feast ; 
While up at a villa one lives, I maintain it, no 

more than a beast. 

Well now, look at our villa ! stuck like the horn 
of a bull 

Just on a mountain-edge as bare as the crea- 
ture's skull. 

Save a mere shag of a bush with hardly a leaf 
to pull I 

— I scratch my own, sometimes, to see if the 
hair 's turned wool. 

But the city, oh the city — the square with the 
houses! Why? 

They are stone-faced, white as a curd, there 's 
something to take the eye I 

Houses in four straight lines, not a single iioat 
awry; 

Ton watch who crosses and gossips, who saun- 
ters, who hurries by ; 

Green blinds, as a matter of course, to draw 
when the sun gets high ; 

And the shops with fancixul signs which are 
painted properly. 

What of a villa ? Though winter be over in 
March by rights, 

'T is May perhaps ere the snow shall have with- 
ered well off the heights : 

Ton 've the brown ploughml land before, where 
ihe oxen steam and wheeze. 

And the hiUs over-smoked behind by the ffunt 
gray olive-trees. 

Is it better in May, I ask you ? Ton * ve sum- 
mer all at once ; 

In a day he leaps complete with a few strong 
April SUDS. 

'Mid the sharp short emerald wheat, scarce 
risen three fingers well, 

The wild tulip, at end of its tube, blows out its 
great red bell 

Like a thin dear bubble of blood, for the 
children to pick and sell. 



Is it ever hot in the square ? There 's a foun- 
tain to spout and rolash I 

In the shade it sings ana springs ; in the shine 
such foambows flash 

On the horses with curling fish-tails, that praaoe 
and paddle and pash 

Round the lad v atop in her conch — fifty gazen 
do not abash. 

Though all that she wears is some weeds round 
ner waist in a sort of sash. 

All the year long at the villa, nothing to sec 

though you linger. 
Except yon cvpi'css that points like death's lean 

lifted forefinger. 
Some think fireflies pretty, when they mix i' Ihe 

com and mingle. 
Or thrid the stinkmg hemp till the stalks of it 

seem a-tingle. 
Late August or early September, the Btanmng 

ci<nla is shrill. 
And the bees keep their tiresome whine round 

the resinous firs on the hill. 
Enough of the seasons, — I spare you the 

months of the fever and chul. 

Ere you open your eyes in the city, the blessed 
church-bells begin : 

No sooner the bells leave off than the diligence 
rattles in : 

Ton get the pick of the news, and it costs yon 
never a pin. 

By and by there 's the travelling doctor gives 
pills, lets blood, draws teeth ; 

Or the Pulcinello-trumpet breaks up the mar- 
ket beneath. 

At the postKiffice such a soene-pietme — the 
new play, piping hot I 

And a notice how, only this morning, three 
liberal thieves were shot. 

Above it, behold the Archbishop's most fa- 
therly of rebukes, 

And beneath, with his crown and his lion, some 
little new law of the Duke's I 

Or a sonnet with fiowery marge, to the Rever- 
end Don So-and-so, 

Who is Dante, Boccaccio, Petrarca, Saint Je- 
rome, and Cicero, 

**And moreover," (tlie sonnet goes rhyming,) 
^* the skirts of Saint Paul has reached. 

Having preached us those six Lent-lectnres more 
unctuous than ever he preached." 

Noon strikes, — here sweeps the procession I 
our Lady borne smiling and smart 

With a pink gauze gown all spangles, umI seven 
swords stuck in her heart f 

Bang-whang-whang goes the drum, tocde4e- 
tootle the fife ; 

No keeping one^s haunches still : it 's the greair 
est pleasure in life. 

But bless you, it's dear — it's dear! fowki 

wine, at double the rate. 
They have clapped a new tax upon salt, and 

what oil pays passing the gate 
It 's a horror to tnink of. And so, the TiBa fof 

me, not the city I 






A TOCCATA OF GALUPPI'S 



^75 



BeggfiB enB acaroely be chooeeis : but still — 

ah, the pity, the pity I 
Lookf two and two go the priests, then the 

monks with cowls and sandals, 
And the penitents dressed in white shirts, 

a-holaing the yellow candles ; 
One, he carries a fuig np straight, and another 

a cross with handfiw. 
And the Duke's gnard brings np the rear, for 

Uie better prevention of scandals : 
Bang^t^ang-whang goeaihe drum, tootle-te-4oode 

the fife. 
Oh, a day in the oity-eqnare, there is no such 

pleasure in life I 



A TOCCATA OF GALUPPrS 

PaUiahed in Men and Women in 1856. An 
American author, visiting Browning and his 
wife at Casa Gnidi in 1847, wrote of their occn- 
patioDs : " Mrs. Browning," he said, *^ was still 
too much of an invalid to walk, but she sat 
onder the great trees upon the lawn-like hill- 
sides near the convent, or in the seats of the 
dmky convent chapel, while Robert Browning 
at the organ chased a fugue, or dreamed out 
npon the twilight keys a faint throbbing toccata 
o<GalitppL" 

Oh Galappi« Baldassare, this is very sad to 



■sar 

I can bardly miaconceive you ; it would prove 

me doif and blind ; 
But although I take your meaning, 't is with 

such a heavy mind I 



you oome with your old music, and here 's 

an the good it brings. 
Wliat, they fived once thus at Venice where 

the merchants were the kings, 
Wbere St. Mark's is, where the Doges used to 

wed the aea with rings ? 

Ay, because the sea's the street there; and 
't is arched by . . . what you call 

. . . Shylock's bridge with houses on it, where 
toey kept the carnival : 

I was never out of England — it 's as if I saw it 
111. 

Did yoaog people take their pleasure when the 
sea was warm in May? 
and masks begun at midnight, burning 
ever to mid-day, 

they made up fresh adventures for the 
morrow, do yon say ? 

Was a lady such a lady, cheeks so round and 

lips so red, — 
Ob ker neck the small f suse buoyant, like a bell- 
flower on its bed, 
', O'er tlie breast's superb abundance where a 
might base his head? 



WflflL, and it was graceful of them — they'd 
Ineak talk off and afford 



— She, to bite her mask's Uaok velvet — he, to 

finger on his sword. 
While you sat and played Toccatas, stately at 

the clavichord ? 



What? Those lesser thirds so plaintive, sixths 

diminished, si^h on sifi^, 
Told them somethmg? Those si 

those solutions — ** Must we die 
Those commiserating sevenths — ** LJfe might 

last I we can but try ! " 



luspensions, 
lie?" 



" Were you happy ? " — " Yes." — " And are 

yon still as happy?" — "Yes, And 

you ? " 
— " Then, more kisses I " — " Did Istop them, 

when a million seemed so few ? " 
Hark, the dominant's persistence till it must 

be answered to ! 

So, an octave struck the answer. Oh, they 

praised you. I dare say I 
" Brave Ghiluppi I that was music I good alike 

at grave and gay I 
I can always leave off tjilking when I hear a 

master play I " 

Then they left you for their pleasure : till in 

due time, one by one. 
Some with lives that came to nothing, some 

with deeds as well undone. 
Death stepped tacitly and took them where 

they never see tne sun. 

But when I sit down to reason, think to take 
my stand nor swerve, 

While I triumph o'er a secret wrung from na- 
ture's close reserve. 

In yon oome with your cold music till I creep 
through every nerve. 

Yes, you, like a ghostly cricket, creakii^ where 

a house was burned : 
" Dust and ashes, dead and done with, Venice 

spent what Venice earned. 
The soul, doubtless, is immortal — where a soul 

can be discerned. 

" Yours for instance : you know physics, some- 
thing of geology, 

Mathematics are your pastime ; souls shall rise 
in their degree ; 

Butterflies may dread extinction, — you '11 not 
die, it cannot be I 

" As for Venice and her people, merely bom 
to bloom and drop. 

Here on earth they bore their fruitage, mirth 
and folly were the crop : 

What of soul was left, I wonder, when the kiss- 
ing had to stop ? 

" Dust and ashes I " So yon creak it, and I 

want the heart to scold. 
Dear dead women, with such hair, too — what 's 

become of fldl the gold 
Used to hang and brush their bosoms? I feel 

chilly and grown old. 



L 






^ 



176 



DRAMATIC LYRICS 



OLD PICTURES IN FLORENCE 



The mom when first it thnnders in March, 

The eel in the pond gives a leap, they say : 
As I leaned and looked over the aloed ar^h 

Of the villa-gate this warm March day. 
No flash snapped, no dumb thunder rolled 

In the valley beneath where, white and wide 
And washed by the morning water-gold, 

Florence lay out on the mountainHside. 

River and bridge and street and square 

Lay mine, as much at my beck and call, 
Through the live translucent bath of air, 

As the sights in a magic cryst^ ball. 
And of all I saw and of all I praised, 

The most to praise and the best to see, 
Was the startling bell-tower Giotto nused : 

But why did it more than startle me ? 

Giotto, how, with that soul of your& 

Could you play me false who lovea you so ? 
Some slights if a certain heart endures 

Yet it feels, I would have your fellows know I 
I' faith, I perceive not why I should care 

To break a silence that suits them best. 
But the thing grows somewhat hard to bear 

When I find a Giotto join the rest. 

On the arch where olives overhead 

Print the blue skv with twig and leaf, 
(That sharp-curled leaf which they^ never shed) 

'Twixt the aloes, I used to lean in chief, 
And mark through the winter afternoons, 

Bv a gift God grants me now and then, 
In tne mild decline of those suns like moons, 

Who walked in Florence, besides her men. 

They might chirp and ohafPer, oome and go 
fW pleasure or profit, her men alive — 

My business was hardly with them, I trow. 
But with empty cells of the human hive ; 

— With the chapter-room, the oloister-poroh, 
The churches apsis, aisle or nave. 

Its crypt, one fingers along with a torch, 
Its face set full for the sun to i^ave. 

Wherever a fresco peels and drops. 
Wherever an outline weakens and wanes 

Till the latest life in the painting stops, 
Stands One whom each fainter pulse-tick 
pains : 

One, wishful each scrap should clutch the brick. 
Each tinge not wholly escape the plaster, 

— A lion who dies of an ass's kick. 

The wronged great soul of an ancient Master. 

For oh, this world and the wrong it does I 

They are safe in heaven with their backs to 
it. 
The Michaels and Rafaels, you hum and buzz 

Round the works of, you of the little wit I 
Do their eyes contract to the earth^s old scope. 

Now that they see God face to face. 
And have all attained to be poets, I hope ? 

*T is their holiday now, in any case. 



Much they reck of vour praise and you I ^^ 
But the wronged great souls — can they b^ 
quit 
' Of a world where their work is all to do. 

Where you style them, you of the little wit, 
Old Master This and Early the Other, 

Not dreaming that Old and New are fellows: 
A younj^er succeeds to an elder brother. 
Da Vmcis derive in good time from Dellos. 

And here where your praise might yield retunis. 

And a handsome word or two give hdp, 
Here, after your kind, the mastifF gima 

And the puppy pack of poodles yelp. 
What, not a word for St^fano there, 

Of brow once prominent and starry, 
CcJled Nature's Ape^ and the world's despair 

For his peerless pamtin^ ? (See Vasui.) 

There stands the Master. Study, my friends, 
What a man's work comes to I So he plans 
it, 
Performs it, perfects it, makes amends 
For the toiling and moiling:, and then, sic 
transit I 
Happier the thrifty blind-folk labor, 

With upturned eye while the hand is bnsv. 
Not sidhnff a glance at the coin of their 
neigboor I 
'T is looking downward that makes one dizxy. 

** If you knew their work you would deal your 

dole." 
May I take upon me to instruct yon ? 
" en Grreek Art ran and reached the goal. 
Thus much had the world to boast infrvctu — 
The Truth of Man, as by God first spoken. 
Which the actual generations fi^rble, 
as re-uttered, and Soul (which Limbs betoken 
And Limbs (Soul informs) made 

marble. 



new m 



So you saw yourself as you wished you were. 

As you might have been, as you cannot be ; 
Earth here, rebuked by Olympus there : 

And grew content in your poor degree 
With vour little power, by those statnes' goA 
head, 

And your little scope, by their eyes' fall sway. 
And your little grace, by their grace embodied 

And your little -date, by their forms that stay 

You would fain be kinglier, say, than I 

Even so, you will not sit like Theseus. 
You woula prove a model ? The Son of 

Has yet the advanta^re in arms' and 
use. 
You 're wroth — can you slay your snake liki 
Apollo? 

You 're grieved — still Niobe 's the grander 
You live — there 's the Racers' frieze to follow 

You die — there 's the dying Alexander. 

So, testing your weakness by their strengtli. 
Your meagre charms by their rounded beaatg 

Measured by Art in your breadth and leng ty^^ 
Yon learned — to submit is a mortal's da^y. 



r? 



OLD PICTURES IN FLORENCE 



177 



^ ^Hien Isa^ " you " 'tis ihe oonmuiD soul, 
\ ilie eollectiTe, I mean : the race of Man 
Hut reeenres life in parts to live in a whole. 
And grow here according to Gkxl^s clear plan. 

Oiovth came when, looking yoor last on them 

all, 

Toa tnnied year eyes inwardly one fine day 
And cried with a start — What if we so small 

Be greater and grander tEew^Qeiihan they ? 
Aie ^y perfec t of lineament, perfect of stat- 
ure? 

hi both, of such lower types are we 
Preeisely because of our wider nature ; 

For time, ^irs — qbeBi ^o' eternit y, 

T(hday'8 brief passion limits their range ; 

It seethes with the morrow for us and more. 
Thej are perfect — how else ? they shall never 
ehawe : 
Wesrenolty — why not? we have time in 
store. 
The Artificer's hand is not arrested 
With us; we are roughrhewn, nowise pol- 
ished: 
iW stand for our copy, and, once invested 
With all they can teach, we shall see them 
abotiihea. 

T b a life-long toil till our lump be leaven — 
The better! What's come to perfection 
perishes. 

ToingB learned on earth, we shall practise in 
heaven: 
Works done least rapidly. Art most cherishes. 

Tlrradtf shalt afford the example, Giotto I 
Thy one work, not to decrease or diminish, 

IWatsstroke, was just (was it not?) "O!" 

, ily great Campanile is still to finish. 

isit tiite that we axe now, and shall be here- 
after, 

oQt what and where depend on life's minute ? 
^WB heavenly cheer or infernal lau^ter 

OurSatsbop out bf the gulf or init ? 
aul Kan, such step within his endeavor, 

Mai'g faoSj have no more pli^ and action 
Tna jtpr which is orvstallizea forever, 

^gnef, an eternal petrif action ? 

Ihi vhieh I conclude, that the early painters, 

To eries of ^*€fareek Art and what more wish 
you?" — 

^^•Jwd, '* To become now self-aoquainters, 
^Dd paint man, man, whatever the issue 1 
we new hopes shine through the flesh they 

^aew fears aggruidize the rags and tatters : 
To brine the invisible full into play I 
1^ the visible go to the dogs — what mat- 
ters?" 

wve these, I exhort you, their g^ierdon and 

Iferdamig so much, before they well did it. 
P^fint of the new, in our race's story, 
LBaalBthelastof theold: 'tis no idle quiddit. 
ne vorthies began a revolution, 



Which if on earth you intend to acknowledge. 
Why, honor them now I (ends my allocution) 
Nor confer your degree when the folk leave 
college. 

There 's a fancy some lean to and others hate — 

That, when this life is ended, b^jins 
New work for the soul in another state. 

Where it strives and gets weary, loses and 
wins: 
Where the strong and the weak, this world's 
con^ries. 

Repeat in lam what they practised in small. 
Through life after life in unhmited series ; 

Only the scale 's to be changed, that 's all. 

Yet I hardly know. When a soul has seen 

By the means of Evil that Good is best. 
And, through earth and its noise, what is 
heaven's serene, — 

When our faith in the same has stood the 
test— • 
Whv, the child grown man, you bum the rod, 

Tne uses of labor are surely done ; 
There remiuneth a rest for the people of God : 

And I have had troubles enough, for one. 

But at any rate I have loved the season 

Of Art's spring-birth so dim and dewy ; 
My souljitor is Nicolo the Pisan, 

My punter — who but Gimabue ? 
Nor ever was man of theon all indeed. 

From these to Ghiberti and Grhirlandajo, 
Could say that he missed my critic-meed. 

So, now to my special grievance — heigh-ho ! 

Their ghosts stiU stand, as I said before, 

Watching each fresco flaked and rasped, 
Blocked up, knocked out, or whitewashed o'er : 
— No gettiiur again what the church has 
grasped f 
The works on the wall must take their chance ; 
** Works never conceded to Knglaud's thick 
dime!" 
(I hope they prefer their inheritance 
Of a bucketful of Italian quick-lime.) 

» 
When they go at length, with such a shaking 

Of heads o'er the old delusion, sadly v" 

Each master his way through the black streets 
taking, 
Where many a lost work breathes though 
badly — 
Why don't they bethink them of who has mer- 
ited? 
Whv not reveal, while their pictures dree 
Such aoom, how a captive might be out-ferreted ? 
Why is it they never remember me ? 

Not that I expect the great Bigordi, 

Nor Sandro to hear me, chivalric, bellicose ; 
Nor the wronged Lippino ; and not a word I 

Say of a scrap of Fr^ Angelico's : 
But are you too fine, Taddeo C^addi, 

To grant me a taste of your intonaco^ 
Some Jerome that seeks the heaven with a sad 
eye ? 

Not a churlish saint, Lorenzo Monaco ? 



V 



N 






I 

i 



178 






1 



DRAMATIC LYRICS 



Could not the ghost with the close red cap, 

My Pollajolo, the twice a craftsman, 
Save me a sample, give me the hap 

Of a muscular Carist that shows the draughts- 
man? 
No Vir^n by him the somewhat .petty, 

Of fimcal touch and tempera crumbly -^ . ) 
Could not Alesso Baldovinetti 'fi,^, A ^ ', 

Contribute so much, I ask him numblls^? ii »* ' 



i 



n 






I . 

Maxgheritone of Arezzo, *y 

Wilii the grave-clothes garb and swaddling 
barret, 
(Why purse up mouth and beak in a pet so, 

Tou oald old saturnine poll-clawed parrot?) 
Not a poor glimmering Crucifixion, 

Where in the foreground kneels the donor ? 
If such remain, as is my conviction, 

The hoarding it does you but little honor. 

They pass ; for them the panels niay thrill, 

The tempera grow alive and tin^Iish ^ 
Tmr pictures are left to the mercies still 

Of aealers and stealers, Jews and the Eng- 
lish, 
Who, seeing mere monev's worth in their prize, 

Wul sell it to somebody calm as Zeno 
At naked High Art, and in ecstasies 

Before some day-cold vile Carlino I 

No matter for these ! But Giotto, yon. 

Have you allowed, as the town-tongues babble 
it,- 
Oh, never I it shall not be counted true — 

That a certain precious little tablet 
Which Buonarroti eyed like a lover — 

Was buried so long in oblivion *s womb 
And, left for another than I to discover. 

Turns up at last I and to whom ? — to whom? 

I, that have haunted the dim San Spirito, 

(Or was it rather the Ognissanti ?) 
Patient on altar-stei> planting a weary toe I 

Nay, I shall have it yet ! Detur amanti ! 
My Koh-i-noor — or (if that 's a platitude) 

Jewel of Giamschid, the Persian Sofi^s eye ; 
So, in anticipative gratitude. 

What if I take up my hope and prophesy ? 

When the hour grows ripe, and a certain do- 
tard 

Is pitched, no parcel that needs invoicing. 
To the worse side of the Mont St. GotharcL, 

We shall begin by way of rejoicing ; 
None of that snooting the sky (blank cartridge). 

Nor a civic guard, all plumes and lacquer, 
Hunting Radetzk^'s soul like a partridge 

Over Morello with squib and cracker. 

This time we 'U shoot better game and bag 'em 
hot — 

No mere display at the stone of Dante, 
But a kind of sober Witanagemot 

(Ex : " Casa Gkudi," quoa videos ante) 
Shall ponder, once Freedom restored to Florence, 

How Art may return that departed with her. 
Go. hated house, go each trace of the Loraine's, 

And bring us the days of Orgagna hither 1 



How we shall prologuize, how we shall pero:J 

Utter fit thines upon art and history, , 

Feel truth at blood-heat .and falsehood at zero* 
rate. 
Make of the want of the age no mystery ; 
Contrast the fruotuous and sterile eras, 
Show — monarchy ever its unoouUi cub lieks 
/. Q^ Vf^the bear's sha^ into Chimsera's, 
'^'^ While Pure Art's birth is still the republic's. 

Then one shall propose in a speech (curt Tuscnu 
Ezpur^te and sober, with scarcely an 



*' issimo^" 



) 



To end now our half-told tale of Cambnscan, 
And turn the bell-tower's cdi to akissimo: 

And fine as the beak of a young beccacoia 
The Campanile, the Duomo's fit ally. 

Shall soar up in gold full fif tv braccia. 
Completing Florence, as Florence Italy. 

Shall I be alive that morning the scaffold 

Is broken awav, and the long-nent fire. 
Like the golden hope of the wond, nnbaffled 

Springs from its sleep, and up goes tlie spire 
While ^'God and the People ''^ plain for its 
motto, 

Thence the new tricolor flaps at the sky ? 
At least to foresee that glory of Giotto 

And Florence together, the first am 1 1 



"DE GUSTIBUS— " 



">« 



Your ghost will walk, ^ou lover of trees, 

Uf our loves remam) 

In an English lane. 
By a comfield-side arflutter with poppies. 
Hark, those two in the hazel coppice — 
A boy and a girl, if the good fates please. 

Making love, say, — 

The happier they I 
Draw yourself up &om the li^ht of the mooD, 
And let them pass, as they will too soon. 

With the beanflowers' boon. 

And the blackbird's tune. 

And May, and June I 

What I love best in all the world 
Is a castle, precipice-encurled. 
In a gash oi the wind-grieved Apennine. 
Or look for me, old f eUow of mine, 
(If I get my head from out the month 
O' the grave, and loose my spirit's bands. 
And come again to the hum of lands) — 
In a searside house to the farther Sonth« 
Where the baked cicala dies of drouth. 
And one sharp tree — 't is a cypress — stands, 
By the many hundred years red-msted. 
Rough iron-spiked, ripe fruil^'erenuted. 
My sentinel to guard the sands 
To the water's edge. For, what expands 
Before the house, but the great opaque 
Blue breadth of sea without a break P 
While, in the house, forever crumbles 
Some fragment of the frescoed wsdls, 
From blisters where a scorpion sprawk^^.^ 
A girl bare-footed brings, and tumbles 
Down on the pavement, green-flesh melons. 



^ 




i w . < I 



/ 



SAUL 



/^/ / ^ - 2^ 



»79 



ind flays there 's news to-day — the king 
Was shot at, toached in the uyer-ving, 
rues with hn fioorhon arm in a sling : 
- She hopes they have not caught the felons, 
hdy, my Italy 1 
Qieen Mary's saying seires for me — 

(When fortuie's malice 

Lost her, Calais) 
Osn my heart and yon wiU see 
(&ed inside of it, ^' Italy." 
SnnWers old are I and she : 
So it always was, so shall ever he I 



HOME-THOUGHTS, FROM ABROAD 

TUs and the following poem were first pnb- 
fidied along with Beer, which hore the name 
Etn's to Ndson^s Memory, mider the general 
^ȣagHomt-T7iougkt3,/rom Abroad, The final 
Bemberof the group, Home-Thoughts, from the 
&a, was written under the same circumstances 
aitlie poem. How They brought the Good News 
fiom Ghent to Aix. 

Ob, to be in England 
Now that April 's there, 
had whoerer wakes in Kngland 
Sees, iome morning, unaware. 
Tint the lowest boughs ana the hmsh-wood 
aheaf 



bough 



^cmd the ehn-tree bole are in tiny leaf. 
WbOe the chaffinch sings on the orchaxa 
InBigiand — now I 

Aad after ApriL when May follows. 

Aid the wfaitethroat builds, and all the swal- 

knrs! 
asA, where my blossomed pear-tree in the 

^iBs to the field and scatters on the clover 
MBODis aad dewdrops — at the bent spray's 

edge — 
uat 'a the wise thrush ; he anga each song 

twice over, 
uit Toa ahonld think he never could recapture 
Ihennt fine 



pe fiiit fine careless raotuxe I 

had though tlie fields look s^tigh with Kbary 

dew, ^ 

AJlviU be gay when i^pontide wi^kes ai^w 
uebotterenpe, the little children JMJaifer 
*- Far hrigfater than this gaudy msioii-flower I 






HOME-THOUGHTS, FROM /THE SEA 

to the North- 



' Bmlt, noUy Cape Saint Vint 
-^weat died away ; 
«rt ran, one glorious blood-: 

„_^Csdi2Bayr 

IWk Wd the buming water, 

n AaSmmest Northeast 
t^„ Gihtaltar grand and grai 
«■• aad here did Enghuid £ 
I hdp Kigland T" — say , 



I, reeking into 

in face Tra- 

»tance dawned 

ime: how can 



Whoso turns as I, this evening, turn to God to 

praise and pray. 
While Jove's planet rises yonder, silent over 

Africa. 

SAUL 

The first nine sections of this poem were 
printed under the same title in No. VII. of Bells 
and Pomegranates, in 1845. The i)oem as en- 
larged was published in Men and AVomen in 
1855. yK--^-'^ ''*-*•*' '•-*<*• • ■ 



\ 



/ . 






Said Abner, ^* At last thou art come ! Ere I 

tell, ere thou speak, 
Elifls my cneek,^ wish me well ! " Then I wished 

it, and did kiss his cheek. 
And he : ** Since the King, O my friend, for thy 

countenance sent. 
Neither drunken nor eaten have we ; nor until 

from his tent 
Thou return with the joyful assurance the King 

liveth yet. 
Shall our lip with the honey be bright, with the 

water be wet. 
For out of the black mid-'tent's silence, a space 

of three davs, 
Not a sound hath escaped to thy servants, of 

prayer nor of praise, 
To betoken that Saul and the Spirit have ended 

their strife; 
And that, faint in his triumph, the monarch 

sinks back upon life. 

II 

" Yet now m^ heart leaps, O beloved ! God's ^ 
child with his dew ^ * ^ * . 

On thy gracious gold hair, aba those lilies still 
living and blue 

Joist broken to twine round thy harp-strings, as 
if no wild heat 

Were now raging to torture the desert ! " 

III 

Then I, as was meet, 
Knelt down to the Gkxl of my fathers, and rose 

on my feet, 
And ran o'er the sand burnt to powder. The 

tent was unlooped ; 
I pulled up the spear that obstructed, and 

under I stooped^" ~ 
Hands and knees on the slipi)ery grass-patch, 

all withered and gone, 
That extends to the second enclosure, I groped 

my way on 
1111 I felt where the foldskirts fly open. Then 

once more I prayed. 
And opened the foldskirts and entered, and was 

not afraid V '" 
But spoke, "Here is David, thy servant I ^' , 

And no voice replied. •' \ 

At the first I saw naught but the blackness: / 

but soon I descried 
A something more black than the blackness — \ 

llie vast, the upright 
Main prop which sustains the pavilion : and slow 

into sight 






/Grewafigi 

. N(/r ofal 

\ ^N Then a am 

, v; Ih roof. 



DRAMATIC LYRICS 



figare against it, gigantic and blackest 
lul. 

snnbeam, that bunt through the tent- 
showed Sanl. 



IV 



. He stood as erect as that tent^rop, both anns 

stretched out wide 
On the great cross-support in the centre, that 

goes to each side ; 
He remxed not a muscle, but hung there as, 
caught in his panga 
> And waiting his change, the king^erpent all 
"^ heavily hangs, 

/yflhx away from his kind, in' the pine, till deliy- 
^ /(/ eranoecteie 

^/ With the_sprin^time,_ — so agonized Saul, drear 



V 



)nng-i 

itark. 



and stark, blind and dumb. 



Then I tuned my harp, — took off the lilies we 

twine round its chords 
Lest they snap 'neath the stress of the noontide 

— those sunbeams like swords I 

>4 And I first played the tune all our sheep know, 
1/ ' as, one after one. 

So docile they come to the pen-door till folding 

be done. 
They are white and untom by the bushes, for 

lo, they have fed 
Where the long grasses stifle the water within 

the stream^s bed ; 
And now one after one seeks its lodging, as star 

follows star 
Into eve and the blue far abd¥6 us, — so blue 

and so fai'I ^. 

, VI ^. 

— Then the tune for which quails on the oom- 

land will each leave his mate 
•^ To fly after the player ; then, what makes ^e 

crickets elate x 

Till for boldness they fight one another; ana 

then, what has weight 
, To set the quick jerboa armusing outside his 

sand house — 
There are none such as he for a wonder, half 

bird and half mouse I 
God made all the creatures and gave them our 

love and our fear, 
To give si^, we and they are his children, one 

fanuly here. 

VII 

. 3. Then I i>layed the help-tune of our reapers, 
their wine-song, wnen hand 

Grasps at hand, eye lights eye in good friend- 
ship, and great hearts expand 

And grow one in the sense of this world^s life. 

— And then, the last song 

When the dead man is praised on his joumey<h-> 

** Bear, bear him along. 
With his few faults shut np like dead flowerets I 

Are balm seeds not her6 
To console us ? The land has none left such as 

he on the bier. 
Oh, would we might keep thee, my brother! " 

— And then, the glad chaunt 



jot the marriage, — first go the young maidtte, 

next, she whom we vaunt 
As the beautv, the pride of our dwelling. — Anot 

then, the great march j 

Wherein man runs to man to assist hisot and 

buttress an arch ^ 

Naught can break ; who shall harm thetl^ our 

K friends ? Then, the chorus intone 

Ab the Levites go up to the altar in gl 

throned. ^, 

But I stopped here: for here in 
^aul 4(roaned. 

VIII 

And I paused, held my breath in such silence, 

and listened apart ; 
And the tent shook, lor nughty Sanl shuddered: 

and sparkles 'gan dart 
From the jewels that woke in his turban, st 

once with a start. 
All its lordly male-sapphires, and mbieB oooia- 
' geous at heart. 
I So the nead : but the body still moved not, stiB 

hung there erect. 
And I bent once again to my playing, pmsoed 

it unchecked, 
Aslsang: — 

IX 

** Oh^ our maiihood*s prime vigor I Ko qpifk 

feels waste. 
Not a muscle is stopped in its plasring nor sinsfV 

unbraced. 
' O ^ the wild jo ys of JivingX Jhe leaping from. 

rook up to rock, ' "^ ' "^ 

The sUuiig raudtiig of boughs from the fir-trai^ 

the oool silver shock 
Of the plunge in a pooPs living water, the hurt 

oi the bear, 
And the sultriness showing the lion is ooocIibI 

in his lair. J 

And the meal, the rich dates yellowed over win 

gold dust divine. 
And ute locust-flesh steeped in the pitcher, thi 

full draught of wine. 
And the sleep m the dried riveisthannel whtd 

bnlmshes tell 

l^t the water was wont to go warbling i| 

\ softljr and well. ^ / 

How, good is man's life, the mere living I hoi 

*, flt to emplov j 

All tl^ heart ana the soul and the Bonses Ui 

eV^ in jov ! 
Hast thou l^ved the white looks of thy 

whosel sword thou didst guard 
When he ixbsted thee forth with the 

for glox^ous reward ? 
Didst thou seV the thin hands of thy dm 

held up fas men sung 
The low songlof the nearly-departed, and 

her fainv tongue 
Joining in while it could to the witneas, ' 

one morh attest, 
I have lived, kgnGod's hand throq|^ _ %, 

time^ anfijuTwas-for bept^ ' 

Then they sung thTou^ their toaiB in ^ 

triumphl, not much, but the 




U A ' 



SAUL 



V / • I' * 






i8i 



jid iJiy brothers, the help and the contest, the 
1 /[ working^ whence grew 
}y meh. result as, ^m seething^ grape-bnndles, the 
/' I spirit strained true : 
^ And the friends of thv boyhood — that boyhood 
of wonder and hope. 
IVesent promise and wealtn of the future beyond 
» the eye's scope, — 

t Tni lo, thon art grown to a monarch ; a people 

is thine ; 
^ And sU gifts, which the world offers singly, on 

one head combine ! 
• On one head, all the beauty and strength, love 
and rage (like the throe 
That, a-work in the rock, helps its labor and 
lets the gold go) 
t^^igh ambition and deeds which surpass it, fame 
^ erowtmig^eitr, — aH"- 

Bnmght to blue on Uie head of one creature — 
Ein^SaulI" 



Asd lo, with that leap of my spirit, — heart, 

hand, harp and voice, 
£ieh hfting Saul's name out of sorrow, each 

bidding reioice 
Sar8_£ame m tne light it was made for — as 
^' ' wBefiTcIare I say. 

Hie Lord's army, in rapture of service, strains 
^ through its array. 

And upsoazeth the chenibim-Hsiiaript'— ^*^ul 1 " 

cried I, and stopped^ "" " 

I Aad. waited the thing that should follow. Then 

Saol, who hung propped 
iBy the tent's cross-support in the centre, was 

stmek by his name. 



[finre ye seen when Spring's arrowy summons k 
[ ^ _ goes right to the aim, . Y 

~ acme mountain, the last to withstand her, 
that held (he alone, 

i the vale laughed in freedom and floweis) 
on a broad bust of stone 
.year's snow bound about for a breastplate,^ — { 
lesres grasp of the sheet ? n^^a ''^ \ 
on fold all at once it crowds thunderoi 
down to his feet, 

there fronts you, stark, black, but alive 
vet, your mountain of old, 
nis rents, the successive bequeathings of 
ages mitold — 

eac^ harm got in fighting your battles, 
each furrow and scar 
bis head thrust 'twixt you and the tempest 
— all hail, there they are ! 
^How again to be softened with verdure, again 
hoM the nest 

dove, tempt the goat aifl its young to 
the green on his crest 
tiieir food in the ardors of summer. One 

long shudder thrilled^ , 
iliie tent till the very air tin]p:led, then sank 
and was stilled I 

le King^s self left standing) before me, re- 
leased and aware. ^ 

as eone, what remainea? All to tra- 
verse twixt hope and de^iair, 
I was past, life not oomfc : so he waited. 
Awhile his right hand ( 



Held the brow, helped the eyes left too vacant 

forthwith to remand 
To their place what new objects should enter: 

't was Saul as before. 
I looked up and dared gaze at those eyes, nor 

was hurt any more 
Than by slow pallid sunsets in autunn, ye 

watch from the shore, 
At their sad level gaze o'er the ocean — a sun's 

slow decline 
Over hills which, resolved in stem silence, o'er- 

lap and entwine 
Base with base to knit strength more intensely : 

so, arm folded arm 
O'er the chest whose slow heavings subsided. 

XI 

What spell or what charm, 
(For awhile there was trouble within me,) what 

next should I urge 
T^jngatgrn him where song had restored him ? 

^— I56ng"ffllec^'krtlie'verge 
His cup with the wine of this life, pressing all 

that it yields 
Of mere fruitage, the strength and the beauty : 

beyond, on what fields. 
Glean a vintage more potent and perfect to 

brighten the eye ) 

And bring blood to the lip, and commend them ' 

the cup they put by ? 
He saith, ** It is good ; " still he drinks not : he * 

lets me praise life, ^ ^ j 

Gtives assent, yet would die for his own part. 

XII 

Then fancies grew rife 
Which had come long ago on the pasture, when 

round me the weep 
Fed in silence — above, the one eagle wheeled 

slow as in sleep ; 
And I lay in mv hollow and mused on the world • 

that might lie 
'Keath his ken, though I saw but the strip 

'twixt the hill and the sky : 
And I laughed — ^^ Since my days are ordained 

to be passed with my flocks. 
Let me ^ople at least, with my fancies, the 

plamo and tho ronWj;- - ^ "^ — • 
Dream the life I am never to mix with, and 

imajge the show 
Of mankind as they live in those fashions I 

hardly shall knoyf ! 
Schemes of life, its best rules and right uses, 

the courage that gains, 
And the prudence that keeps what men strive 

for." And now these old trains 
Of vague thought came a^ain ; I grew surer ; 

so, once more the string 
Of my harp made response to my spirit, as 

thus — 

XIII 

■- '*Yea,myKin?," 

I began — **thou dost well m rejecting mere 

comforts that spring 
From the mere mortal life held in common by 

man and by brute : 
In our flesh grows the branch of this life, in our 

soul it bears fruit. 



■ 

L. 



l82 



DRAMATIC LYRICS 



Thou hast marked the slow rise of ihe tree, — 

how its stem trembled first 
Till it passed the kid's lip, the stair's antler ; 

then safely outburst 
The f an-branohes all round ; and thou mindest 

when these too, in turn, 
Broke a-bloom and the palm-tree seemed per- 
fect: yet more was to learn. 
E'en the good that oomes in with the palm-fruit. 

Our dates shall we slight, 
When their juice brings a cure for all sorrow ? 

or care for the plight 
Of the palm's self whose slow growth produced 

them ? Not so I stem and branch 
Shall decay, nor be known in their place, while 

the palm-wine shall stanch ^ 
/'Every wound of man's spirit in winter. I pour 

thee such wine. 
Jjeaye the flesh to the fate it was fit for ! the 
/^^ spirit be thine ! ^ 

By the spirit, when a^ shall o'eroome thee, 

thou still shalt enjoy 
More indeed, than at first when inoonscious, the 

life of a boy. 
Crush that life, and behold its wine running I 

Each deed thou hast done 
Dies, revives, goes to work in the world ; until 

e'en as tne sun 
Lookii^ down on the earth, though clouds 

spoil him, though tempests efface. 
Can find nothing his own deed produced not, 

must everywhere trace 
The results of his past summeivprime, — so, 

each ray of thy will. 
Every flash of thy passion and prowess, long 

over, shall thrill 
Thy whole people, the countless, with ardor, 

till they too give forth 



South and the North 
^OVith the radiance thy deed was the germ of. 
Carouse in the past ! 

But the license of age has its limit ; thou dieet 
at last : 

As the lion when age dims his eyeball, the rose 
^ at her height, 

So with man — so his power and his beauty for- 
ever take flight. 

No I Again a long draught of my soul-wine I 
Look forth o er the years ! 
I Thou hast done now with eyes for the actual ; 

begin with the seer's I 
' Is Saul dead ? In the depth of the vale make 
his tomb — bid arise 

A gray mountain of marble heaped four-square, 
till, built to the skies. 

Let it mark where the great First King slum- 
bers : whose fame would ye know ? 

Up above see the rock's naked face, where 
the record shall go 

In great characters cut by the scribe, — Such 
was Saul, so he did : 

With the sages directing the work, by the popu- 
lace chid, — 

For not half, they '11 affirm, is comprised there ! 
Which fault to amend. 

In the grove with his kind grows the cedar, 
whereon they shall spend 



I 

' 



(See, in tablets 't is level before them) thur 

praise, and record / 

With the gold of the graver, Saul's stoiy, i- { 

the statesman's great word 
Side by side with the poet's sweet commeiL 

The river 's a-wave 
With smooth papex^reeds grazing each oiher 

when prophet^winds rave : 
So the pen gives unborn generations their dne 

and tn^ part 
In thy being I Tlien, first of the mighty, 

thank God that thou art 1 " 

XIV 

And behold while I sang . . . but O Thou who 

didst ^^rant me that day, 
And before it not seldom hast granted thy he^ 

to essay. 
Carry on ana complete an adventnre, — my 

shield and my sword 
In that act where my soul was thy senrant, 

lliy word was my word, — 
Still be with me, who then at the summit of 

human endeavor 
And scaling the highest, man's thought oooUl, 

gazed hopeless as ever 
On the new stretch of heaven aboTC me — till, 

mighty to save. 
Just one lift of thy hand cleared that distanee 

— God's throne from man's grave ! 
Let me tell out my tale to its ending — my 

voice to my heart 
Which can scarce dare believe in what marvels 

last night I took part. 
As this morning I gather tne fragments, alone 

with my sheep. 
And still fear lest the terrible glory evanish 

like sleep I 



A like cheer to their sons, who in turn, fill the ' For I wake in the gray dewy covert, while 



Hebron upheaves 
The dawn struggling with night onhis shouUflTt 
I and Kidron retrieves 

iSlow the damage of yesterday's sunshine. 



XV 



; 



th( 
Gol 



I say then, — my p 
While I sang thus, assuring the monarcm 

ever more strong ^ » 

Made a proffer of eood to console huvj^ *^ 

slowly resumed c.^ 

His old motions and habitudes kingly^j J^Jii 

right hand replumed -nSif 

His black locks to their wonted oompoai,g?^ '^ 

justed the swathes ^. . * &p 

Of his turban, and see — the huge ffWQ^ ' 

his countenance bathes, • ^ <>ia 

He wipes off w\th the robe ; and he gif-^^^ 



his loins as of yore. 
And feels slow for the armlets of p 

the clasp set before. 
He is Saul, ye remember in glory, — 

had bent 
The broad brow from the daily coi 

and stilly though much spent 
Be the life anc[^the bearing that front 

same, G;, I did choose, 
To receive wl a man may waste, 

never c 3 lose. 



^J?^t 



/ 



SAUL 



183 



i So auk he along by the tent^prop till, stayed 

hjibe pile 
Of his armor and war-oloak and garments, he 

leaned there awhile, 
had sat ont my singing, — one arm ronnd the 

tent-prop, to raise 
ffis bent head, and the other hong slack — till 

I touched on the praise 
I foresaw from all men in all time, to the man 

patient there ; 
And tnos ende<L the harp falling forward. 

Then first 1 was 'ware 
Tbat he sat, as I say, with my head jnst above 

his Tsst knees 
Which were thmst out on^ each side around 

me, like oak roots which please 
vTo endrde a lamb when it slumbers. I looked 

np to know 
If Um best I could do had brought solace : he 

spoke not, but slow 
lifted np the hand slack at his side, till he laid 

it with care 
Soft and {crave, but in mild settled will, on my 

brow : through my hair 
fut huge fingers were pushed, and he bent 

back my head, with kind power — 
An my face back, intent to jMruae it, as men do 
■^ a flower. 
Ihu held he me there with his great eyes that 

semtinized mine — 
And oh. all my heart how it^LoBd. him I but 

where was the sign ? > 
1 yearned-** Could IheWthee, my father, 

inTenling a bliss, / 
Uonid add, to that life tf the past, both the 



f ntnie and tlds ; / 
1 voidd give thee new li£| 
ages hence, / 



give thee new li£| altogether, as good, 



As this 



B moment,— ha<Uove but the warrant, 
loTe's heart to dia6ense I " 

die truth 
— no 




upon me. No harp more 
re I outbroke — 



XVII 

the whole round of creation : I 
Lid I spoke : 

_ God 8 hand for that purpose, re- 
^d in my brain 

inoed on the rest of his handwork — 

*ned him again 

»ii's approval or censure : I spoke as 

m 
m 

a man may of God's work — all 's 
ye^all 's law. ^ 

["^lown the judgeship he lent me. 
faculty tasked 
hira, has gained an abyss, where a 

I» was asked, 
edge? confounded it shrivels at 
>Ta laid bare. 

thought? how purblind, how blank. 
Infinite Care ! 
my faculty highest, to image suc- 

ly eyes, — and perfection, no more 
I less. 



In the kind I imagined, full-fronts me, and 

God is seen God 
In the star, in the stone, in the flesh, in the 

soul and the clod. 
And thus looking within and around me, I ever 

renew 
(With that stoop of the soul which in bending 

upraises it too) 
The submission of man's nothing-perfect ta - 

God's all-complete. 
As by each new obeisance in spirit, I climb to 

his feet. 
Yet with all this abounding experience, this 

deity known, 
I shall dare to discover some province, some 

gift of my own. 
There s a faculty pleasant to exercise, hard to 

hoodwink, 
I am fain to keep still in abeyance, (I laugh as 

I think) 
Lest, insisting to claim and jMurade in it, wot ye, 

I worst 
E'en the Giver in one gift. — Beho ld, I co uld 

lo ve if I dur st I ' ~ 

But I sinK tbe pretension as fearing a man may 

o'ertake 
God's own speed in the one way of love : I ab- 
stain tor love's sake. 
— What, my soul ? see thus far and no farther ? 

when doorsgreat and small, 
Nine-and-ninety flew ope at our touch, should 

the hundredth appall ? 
In the least things have faith, yet distrust in 

the greatest of all ? 
Do I find love so full in my nature, God's ulti- 
mate gift, 
That I doubt his own love can compete with 

it ? Here, the parts shift ? 
Here, the creature surpass the Creator, — the 

end, what Began ? 
Would I f^n in my impotent yearning do all 

for this man, 
And dare doubt he alone shall not help him, 

who yet alone can ? 
Would it ever have entered my mind, the bare 

will, much less power. 
To bestow on this Sietul what I sang of, the 

IIQacveUous d9WBr 
Of the Bfe he was gifted and filled with? to 

make such a soul. 
Such a bodv, and then such an earth for inspher- 

ing tne whole ? 
And doth it not enter my mind (as my warm 

tears attest) 
These ^[ood things being given, to go on, and 

give one more, the best ? 
Ay, to save and redeem and restore him, main- 
tain at the height 
This perfection, — succeed with life's day- 
spring, death's minute of night ? 
Interpose at the difficult minute, snatch Saul 

the mistake, 
Saul the failure, the ruin he seems now, — and 

bid him awake 
From the dream, the probation, the prelude, to 

find himself set 
Clear and safe in new light and new life, — a 

new harmony yet 



i84 



DRAMATIC LYRICS 



'J 



To be nm, and oontmned, and ended — who 

knows ? — or endnre ! 
The man taught enough by life's dream, of the 

rest to make sure ; 
By the pain-throb, triumphantly winning inten- 

sined bliss, 
And the nesct world's reward and repose, by the 

struggles in this. 

XVIII 

**I belieTO it! 'Tis thou, Gk>d, that giyest, 

'tis I who receive : 
In the first is the last, in thy will is my power 

to believe. 
All 's one gift : thou canst grant it moreover, 

as prompt to m^ prayer 
As I breathe out this oreath, as I open these 

arms to the air. 
From thy will stream the worlds, life and na- 
ture, thy dread Sabaoth : 
/ will ? — the mere atoms despise me I Why 

am I not loth 
To look that, even that in the face too ? Why 

is it I dare 
Think but lightly of such impmssance ? Whai 

stops my despair ? 
ThiB ; — t is not what man Does which exalts 

hinK but what man Would do I 
See the King — I would help him but cannot, 

the wisnes fall through. 
Could I wrestle to raise him from sorrow, grow 

poor to enrich. 
To fill up his life, starve my own out, I would — 

knowing whichj 
I know that my service is perfect. Oh, speak 

through me now ! 
Would I suffer for him that I love ? So wpuldst 

thou — so wilt thou I 
So shall crown thee the topmost, ineffablest, 

uttermost crown — 
And thy love fill infinitude wholly, nor leave up 

nor down 
One spot for the creature to stand in I It is by 

no breath, 
^„«^^rum of eye, wave of hand, that salvation joins 

issue with death I 
As thy Love is discovered almighty, almighty 
1 be proved 

\ - Thy power, that exists with and for it, of being 
r • Beloved ! 

* He who did most, shall bear most : the strong- 
est shall stand the most weak. 
'Tis the weakness in strength, that I cry for I 

mv flesh, that I seek 
. In the Grodhead ! I seek and I find it. O Saul, 

it shall be 
A Face like my iace Uiat receives thee ; a Man 

like to me, 
Thou shalt love and be loved by, f (never: a 

Hand like this hand 
Shall throw open the gates of new life to thee I 

See the Christ stand ! " 

XIX 

I know not too well how I found my way home 

in the night. 
There were witnesses, cohorts about me, to left 

and to right. 



Angels, powers, the unuttered, unseen, tJu 

alive, the aware : 
I repressed, I got through them as hardly, as 

strugglingly there. 
As a runner beset by the populace famidied 

for news — 
Life or death. The whole earth iebs awakened, 

hell loosed with her crews ; 
And the stars of night beat with emotion, and 

tingled and shot 
Out in fire the strong pun of pent knowledge: 

but I fainted not, 
For the Hand still impelled me at onee lad 

supported, suppressed 
All the tumult, ana quenched it with quiet, 

and holy behest. 
Till the rapture was shut in itself, and die 

earth sank to rest. 
Anon at the dawn, all that trouble hadvitik- 

ered from earth — 
Not so much, but I saw it die out in the day's 

tender birth ; 
In the eathered intensity brought to the gray 

of the hills; 
In the shuddering forests' held breath; in tk 

sudden wind-thrills ; 
Li the startled wild beasts that bore off, each 

with eye sidling still 
Though averted with wonder and dread ; in ihe 

birds stiff and chill 
That rose heavilv, as I approached them, made 

stupid witll awe : 
E'en the serpent tliat slid away silent, — he feh 

the new law. 
The same stared in the whit^ humid faces up- 
turned by the flowers ; 
The same worked in the heart of the cedar aad 

moved the vine- bowers : 
And the little brooks witnessing mnrmnieo, 

persistent and low, 
'V^th their obstinate, all but hushed voices- 

"E'en so, it is so!" 



-I^ 



MY STAR 

This poem has been held to ref eiV^iutedly to 
Mrs. Browning. An inference to tSfendnWf 
be drawn from the fact that it stant^ fi^*^ ^ * 
volume of Selections from the Po€tuai]W^^i[ 
Robert Browning^ published in ietu|^^i 
cated to Alfred Tennyson. "I**ti 
lustrious and consummate : Lif;^ 
Noble and sincere." The selec^y^ ] 
under Browning's supervision a lavj 
following preface : — £acf 

ceivi 

"In the present selection flew< 
there is an attempt to escape -JF^^ 
rassmentof appearing to promjl'^^j 
myself may consider the bes^ ^j^' 
another principle ; and by s* task 
gether certain pieces on tb cess ? 
gined personality, I presen'^ open 
rather as the natural deve ^^^ *J< 



»re 



yoUt, 



II 



BY THE FIRESIDE 



I8s 



krexpenenoe than because I account them the 
noBt noteworthy portion of my -work. Such an 
attempt was made m the volnme of selectioiis 
bm die poetry of Elizabeth Barrett Browning : 
towldch — in ontward uniformity, at least — 
mj own would Tentnre to become a companion. 

'* A few years ago, had such an opportunity 
pnsented itself, I might have been tempted to 
ays word in reply to the objections my poetry 
vai naed to encounter. Time has kindly coop- 
erated with my disinclination to write the poetry 
and the criticism besides. The readers I am at 
lait privileged to expect, meet me fully half- 
Tay; and if, from the fitting stand-point, they 
nuBt still *" censure me in their wisdom,^ they 
hm previously * awakened their senses that 
ihej may the better judge.* Nor do I appre- 
hend any more charges of being wiUf ully ob- 
fldoe, nnoonscientiously careless, or perversely 
baisk. Having hitherto done my utmost in the 
ait to which my life is a devotion, I cannot en- 
gage to increase the effort ; but I conceive tiiat 
there may be helpful light, as well as reassuring 
vsrmtb, in the attention and sympathy I grate- 
faOy aekAowledge. R. B." 

LmoNUi, May 14, 1872. 

All that 1 know 

Of a certain star 
Is, it can throw 

(Like the angled spar) 
Now a dart of red. 

Now a dart of blue ; 
Till my friends have sud 

They would fain see, too, 
Hj star that dartles the red and the blue I 
Tbea it stm like a bird ; like a flower, hangs 

They must solace themselves with the Saturn 
above it. 
What matter to me if their star is a world ? 
Kine has opened its soul to me ; therefore I 
love it. 



BY THE FIRESIDE 

Hm seene of the declaration in this poem is 
''m1 IB a little mountain gorge adjacent to the 
of Lucca, where the Brownings spent 
of 1853. 



.^weU I know what I mean to do 
^jvben the long dark autumn evenings come ; 
J<^iere, my soul, is thy pleasant hue ? 

n the music of all thy voices, dumb 

ft*8 November too ! 

I be found by the fire, suppose, 

t^a great wise book as beseemeth age, 

^ihe shutters flap as the cross-wind blows, 

I tarn the page, and I turn the page, 

tse noW} only prose I i 



Till the youn^ ones whisper, finger on lip, 
** There he is at it, deep in Gh«ek : 

Now then, or never, out we slip 
To cut irom the hazels by the creek 

A mainmast for our ship ! '^ 

I shall be at it indeed, my friends I 
Greek puts already on either side 

Such a branch-work forth as soon extenda 
To a vista opening far and wide. 

And I pass out where it ends. 

The outnde-frame, like your hazel-trees — 
But the inside-archway widens fast. 

And a rarer sort sucoeedis to these. 
And we slope to Italy at last 

And youth, by green degrees. 

I follow wherever I am led. 
Knowing so well the leader's hand : 

Oh woman-country, wooed not wed. 
Loved all the more by earth's male-lands. 

Laid to their hearts instead I 

Look at the ruined chapel again 
Half-way up in the Alpine gorge I 

Is that a tower. I point you plain. 
Or is it a mill, or an iron ^rge 

Breaks solitude in vain ? 

A turn, and we stand in the heart of things ; 

The woods are round^ us, heaped and dim ; 
From slab to slab how it slips and sprii^is. 

The thread of water single and shm. 
Through the ravage some torrent brings ! 

Does it feed the little lake below ? 

That speck of white just on its marge 
Is Pella : see, in the evening^low. 

How sharp the silver spearheads charge 
When Alp meets heaven in snow I 

On our other side is the straight^up rock ; 

And a path is kept 'twixt the gorge and it 
Byboulder-stones where lichens mock 

The marks on a moth, and small fenis fit 
Their teeth to the polished block. 

Oh the sense of the yellow mountain-flowers. 
And thorny balls, each three in one, 

The chestnuts throw on our path in showers ! 
For the drop of the woodland fruit 's begun, 

These early November hours. 

That crimson the creeper's leaf across 
Like a splash of blood, intense, abrupt. 

O'er a shield else gold from rim to boss. 
And lay it for show on the fairy-cupped 

Elf-needled mat of moss. 

By the rose-flesh mushrooms, nndivulged 
Last evening — nay, in to-dav's first dew 

Yon sudden coral nipple bulgea. 
Where a freaked fawn-colored flaky crew 

Of toad-stools peep indulged. 

And yonder, at foot of the fronting ridge 
That takes the turn to a range TOyond, 



i86 



DRAMATIC LYRICS 



t 



\ 



Is the chapel reached hj the one-arched bridg:e 
Where the water is stopped in a stagnant pond 
Danced over by tJie midge. 

The chapel and bridge are of stone alike, 

Blackish-gray and mostly wet ; 
Cut hemp-stalks steep in the narrow dyke. 

See here again, how the lichens fret 
And the rooto of the ivy strike 1 

Poor little place, where its one priest oomes 
On a f esta-dav, if he comes at all. 

To the dozen folk from their scattered homes, 
Gathered within that precinct small 

By the dozen ways one roams — 

To drop from the charcoal-burners^ hnts. 
Or climb from the hemp-dressers' low shed, 

Leaye the grange where the woodman stores 
his nuts. 
Or the wattled cote where the fowlers spread 

Their gear on the rook^s bare juts. 

It has some pretension too, this front. 
With its bit of fresco half-moon-wise 

Set over the porch, Art's early wont : 
'T is John in the Desert, I surmise. 

But has borne the weather's brunt — 

Not from the fault of the builder, though. 
For a pent-house properly projects 

Where three carved oeams make a certain show. 
Dating — good thought of our architect's — 

'Five, six, nine, he lets you know. 

And all day long a bird sings there. 
And a stray sheep drinks at the pond at times ; 

I The place is silent and aware ; 

It rias had its scenes, its joys and crimes, 

But that is its own affair. 

»' My perfect wife, my Leonor, 
\ Oh heart, my own, oh eyes, mine too, 
t ^ Whom else could I dare look backward for, 
With whom beside should I dare pursue 
vThe path gray heads abhor ? 

For it leads to a crag's sheer edge with them ; 

Youth, flowery all the way, there st.op8 — 
Not tiiey ; age threatens and the^ contemr v, 

Till they reach the gulf wherein youth drops. 
One inch from life's safe hem ! 

With me, youth led ... I will speak now, 

No longer watch you as you sit 
Reading by fire-light, that great brow 

And the spirit-small hand propping it, 
Mutely, my neart knows how — 

When, if I think but deep enough. 
You are wont to answer, prompt as rhyme ; 

And you, too, find without rebuff 
Response your soul seeks many a time 

Piercing its fine flesh-stuff, 

Myown, confirm me I If I tread 

This nath back, is it not in pride 
To think how little I dreamed it led 



To an age so blest that, by its side, 
Youth seems the waste instead ? 

My own, see where die years conduct 1 
At fiistj 't was something our two souls 

Should mix as mists do ; each is sucked 
In each now : on, the new stream rolls. 

Whatever rocks obstruct. 

Think, when our one soul understands 
The great Word which makes all things new, 

When earth breaks up and heaven expands. 
How will the chaiwpe strike me and yon 

In the house not made with hands ? 



Oh. I must feel your brain prompt mine. 
Your heart anticipate nay heart, \ 

You must be iust before, in fine, [f 

See and make me see, for your part, , \ 

New depths of the divine I '^ 

But who could have expected this 
When we two drew together first 

Just for the obvious human bliss. 
To satisfy life's daily thirat 

With a thing men seldom miss ? 

Come back with me to the first of all. 
Let us lean and love it over again. 

Let us now forget and now recall^ 
Break the rosary in a pearly ram 

And gather what we let fall I 



What did I say ? — that a small bird sings 
All day long, save when a brown pur 

Of hawks from the wood float vrith wide 
Strained to a bell : 'gainst noon-day glare 

You count the streaks and rings. 




But at afternoon or almost eve 
'T is better ; then the silence grows 

To that degree, you half believe 
It must get rid of what it know8,v 

Its bosom does so heave. V 

^^" 

Hither we walked then, side by side. 
Arm in arm and cheek to cheek. 

And still I questioned or replied. 
While my heart, convulsed to really 

Lay choking in its pride. 

Silent the onimblin|ir bridge we cross. 
And pity and praise the chapel sweet. 

And care about the fresco's loss. 
And wish for our souls a like retreat. 

And wonder at the moss. 



Stoop and kneel on the settle under. 
Look through the window's grated square 

Nothing to see I For fear of mnnder. 
The cross is down and the aitar bare. 

As if thieves don't fear thunder. 



We stoop and look in through the grate. 
See the little porch and mstic door. 

Read duly the dead builder's date ; 
Then cross the bridge that we croaaed 

Take the path again — but wait I 






^f > 



N 



ANY WIFE TO ANY HUSBAND 



187 



^ 



CHi moment, one and infinite I 
The water slips o Vr stock and stone ; 

The West is tender, hardly bri|rht : 
How gray at onoe is the evening grown — 

One star, its chrysolite I 

We two stood there with never a third. 
But each by each, as each knew weU : 

The flights we saw and the sounds we heard. 
The lights and the shades made up a speU 

m the ft^^^4;^»g^,»fTXtS. 

Oh, the little more, and how much it is I 
And the little less, and what worlds away I 

How a soond shall quicken content to bliss. 
Or a breath suspend the blood's best play, 
^^^nd life be a proof of this ! 

\ *"Bad die wiUed it, still had stood £he screen 
So slight, so sure, 'twixt my love and her : 

I oould fix her face with a guard between, 
And find her soul as when friends confer, 

Fiiends — lovers that might have been. 

For m^ heart had a touch of the woodland- 
time. 

Wanting to sleep now over its best. 
Shake the whole tree in the summer-prime, 

But bring to the last leaf no such test I 
'* Hold the last fast ! " runs the rhyme. 

For a chance to make vonr little much, 
To gain a lover and lose a friend, 

Yeature the tree and a myriad such, 
When nothing you mar but the year can 
mend: 

But a last leaf — feartfto^ch! 

-^ U*-**- \ v^ - 

Tet should it unfasten itself and fall 
Eddying down till it find your face 

At some uight wind — best chance of all ! 
Be your heart henceforth its dwelling-place 

YoQ trembled to forestall ! 

Worth how well, those dark gray eyes. 
That hair so dark and dear, how worth 

Tliat a man should strive and agonize. 
And taste a veriest hell on earth 

For the hope of such a prize I 

Too mi^ht have turned and tried a man. 
Set hun a space to^ weary and wear. 

And prove which suited more your plan, 
His best of hope or his worst despair, 

Tet end as he b^gan. 

Bat you spared me this, like the heart you 
are. 

And filled my empty heart at a word. 
If two lives join, there is oft a scar, 

They are one and one, with a shadowy third ; 
Oie near one is too far. ;rvt -JL*,- V ^ . 4^. - 

A moment after, and hands unseen 
Wei« hanging the night around us fast ; 

But we knew that a bar was broken between 
life and life : we were mixed at last 

ui qite of the mortal screen. 



The forests had done it ; there they stood ; 

We caught for a moment the powers at play : 
They had mingled us so, for once and good. 

Their work was done — we might go or stay, 
They relapsed to their ancient mood. 

How the world is made for each of us ! 

How all we perceive and know in it 
Tends to some moment's product thus. 

When a soul declares itself — to wit^ 
By its fruit, the thing it does I 

Be hate that fruit or love that fruit. 
It forwards the general deed of man. 

And each of the Many helps to recruit 
The life of the race by a general plan ; 

Each living his own, to boot. 

I am named and known by that moment's feat ; 

There took my stetion and degree ; 
So grew my own small life complete, 

Aa nature obtained her best of me — 
One bom to love you, sweet ! 

Aud to watch you sink by the fireside now 

Back again, as vou mutely sit 
Musing by fire-light, that great brow 

And the spirit-small hand propping it. 
Yonder, my heart knows how I 

So, earth has gained by one man the more. 
And the gain of earth must be heaven's gain 
too; 

And the whole is well worthy thinking o'er 
When autumn comes : which I mean to do 

One day, as-I said before. , 



ANY WIFE TO ANY HUSBAND 

Mt love, this is the bitterest, that thou — 
Who art all truth, and who dost love me now 

As thine eyes say, as thy voice breaks to say — 
Shouldst love so truly, and couldst love me still 
A whole long life through, had but love its will. 

Would death that leads me from thee brook 
delay. 

I have but to be by thee, and thy hand 
Will never let mine go, nor heart withstand 

Tlie beating of rov heart to reach its place. 
When shall I look for thee and feel thee gone ? 
When cry for the old comfort and find none ? 

Never, I know I Thy soul is in thy face. 

Oh, I should fade — 'tis willed sol Might I 

save. 
Gladly I would, whatever beauty gave 

Joy to thy sense, for that was precious too. 
It is not to be granted. Bat the soul 
Whence the love comes, all ravage leaves that 
whole ; '^ 

Vainly the flesh fades ; soul makes all things 
new. ' 

It would not be because my eye grew dim 
Thou couldst not find the love there, thanks to 
Him 



/ 



i 



1 88 



DRAMATIC LYRICS 



Who never is dishonored in the spark 
He gave ns from his fire of fires, and bade 
Remember whence it sprang, nor be afraid 

While that bums on, though all the rest grow 
dark. 

So, how thon wonldst be perfect, white and 

clean 
Outside as inside, soul and soul's demesne 

Alike, this booy given to show it by I 
Oh, three-parts tmrough the worst of life's 

ab3r8s. 
What plaudits from the next world after this, 
Conldst thou repeat a stroke and gain the 
sky I 

And is it not the bitterer to think 

That disengaee our hands and thou wilt nnk 

Although tny love was love in very deed ? 
I know that nature ! Pass a festive day, 
Thou dost not throw its relio-flower away 

Nor bid its music's loitering echo speed. 

Thou let'st the stranger's glove lie where it fell ; 
If old things remain old things all is well. 

For thou art grateful as becomes man best : 
And hadst thou only heavd me play one tune. 
Or viewed me from a window, not so soon 

With thee would such things fade as with the 
rest. 

I seem to see ! We meet and part ; 'tis brief ; 
The book I opened keeps a folded leaf, 

The very chair I sat on, breaks the rank ; 
That is a portrait of me on the wall — 
Three lines, mv face comes at so slight a call : 

And for all uus, one little hour to thank I 

But now, because the hour through years was 

fixed. 
Because our inmost beings met and mixed. 
Because thou once hast loved me — wilt thou 
dare 
S^to thy soul and Who may list beside, 
** Therefore she is immortally my bride ; 
Chance cannot change my love, nor time 
impair. 

*^ So, what if in the dusk of life that's left, 
I, a tired traveller of my sun bereft, 
Look from my path when, mimicking the 
same, 
The fire-fly glimpses past me, come and gone ? 
— Where was it till the sunset ? Where anon 
It will be at the sunrise! What's to 
bhuiie?" 

Is it so helpful to thee ? Canst thou take 
The mimic up, nor, for the true thing's sake. 

Put gently by such efforts at a beam ? 
Is the remamder of the way so long. 
Thou need'st the little solace, thou the strong ? 

Watch out thy watch, let weak ones doze and 
dream I 

Ah, but the fresher faces I *^ Is it true," 
Thou 'It ask, ** some eyes are beautiful and 
new? 



Some hair, — how can one choose but gntp 
such wealth ? 
And if a man would press his lips to Ims 
Fresh as the wilding hedge-rose-eup there dips 

The dewdrop out of, must it be by stealth f 

*'' It cannot change the love still kept for Her, 
More than if sucm a picture I prefer 

Passing a day with, to a room's bare side : 
The painted form takes nothing she possesaed, 
Yet, while the Titian's Venus lies at rest, 

A man looks. Once more, what is there to 
chide ? " 

So must I see, from where I sit and watch. 
My own self sell myself, mv hand attach 

Its warrant to the very thefts from me — 
Thy singleness of soul that made me proud. 
Thy purity of heart I loved aloud. 

Thy man's-truth I was bold to bid God see I 

Love so, then, if thou wilt I^ Give all thon canst 
Away to the new faces — disentranced, 

(Say it and think it) obdurate no more : 
Re-issue looks and words from the old mint. 
Pass them afresh, no matter whose the print 

Image and superscription once they bOTe ! 

Re-coin thyself and give it them to spend, — 
It all comes to the same thin^ at the end. 
Since mine thou wast, nunc art and mine 
shalt be. 
Faithful or faithless, sealing up the sum 
Or lavish of my treasure, thou must come 
Back to the heart's place here I keep for 
thee! 

On ly, why should it be with stain at all ? 
Why must I, 'twixt the leaves of coronal. 

Put any kiss of pardon on thy brow ? 
Whv need the other women know so much. 
And talk together, ^^ Such the look and such 

The smile ne used to love with, then as now ! *' 

Might I die last and show thee ! Should I find 
Such hardship in the few years left behind, 

If free to take and light my lamp, and go 
Into thy tomb, and shut the door and sit. 
Seeing thy face on those four sides of it 

The better that they are so blank, I know ! 

Why,^ time was what I wanted, to turn o'er 
Within my mind each look, get more and more 
By heart each word, too much to learn at 
^ first : 
And join thee all the fitter for the pause 
'Neaui the low doorway's lintel. That were 
cause 
For lingering,' though, thou calledst, if I 
durst I 

And yet thou art the nobler of us two : 

What dare I dream of, that thou canst not do. 

Outstripping my ten small steps with osib 
stride? 
I 'U say then, here 's a trial and a task — 
Is it to b^ ? — if easy, I '11 not ask : 

Thougn love fail, I can trust on in thy pride 



A SERENADE AT THE VILLA 



189 



YaiB ? — when those eyes forestall the life be- 
hind 
The death I have to go throagh I — when I find, 

Now that I want thy help most, all of thee I 
What did I fear? Thy love shall hold me fast 
Until the little minute's sleep is past 

And I wake saved. — And yet it will not be I 



TWO IN THE CAMPAGNA 

I WONDEB do Ton feel to-day 
As I have felt since, hand in hand. 

We sat down on the grass, to stray 
In spirit better through the land. 

Hub mom of Rome ana May ? 

For me, I touched a thought, I know, 

Has tantalizeid me many times, 
(like tarns of thread the spiders throw 

Mocking across our path) for rhymes 
To catch at and let go. 

Hdp me to hold it I Firstitleft 
Tne yellowing fennel, run to seed 

Iliere, branching from the brickwork's deft, 
Some old tomb's ruin : yonder weed 

Took up the floating weft. 

Where one small oranfi;e cup amassed 
Rtc beetles, — blind and green they grope 

AmoQg the honey-meal : and last, 
Everywhere on the grassy slope 

Itramdit. HolditfastI 

Hie champaign with its endless fleece 

Of feathery grasses eyerywhere ! 
Sknee and passion, joy and peace. 

An eyerlasting wash of air — 
Rome's ghost since her decease. 

Saeh life here, through such lengths of hours. 
Such miracles performed in play, 

Soeh primal naked forms of flowers, 
Soen letting nature have her way 

While heaven looks from its towers ! 

How say tou ? Let us, O my dove. 

Let us be unashamed of soul, 
As earth Iks bare to heaven above I 

How is it under our control 
To love or not to love ? 

I would that you were all to me, 
^Ton that are just so much, no more. 
Xor yours nor mine, nor slave nor free ! 

Whera does the fault lie ? What the core 
0' the wound, since wound must be ? 

I would I could adopt your will, 
See with your eyes, and set my heart 

Basting by yours, and drink my fill 
At your soul's springs, — your part my part 

In fife, for good and ul. 

No. I yearn upward, touch you close. 
TWn stand away. I kiss your cheek. 



Catch your soul's warmth, — I pluck the rose 
And love it more than tongue can speak — 
Then the good minute goes. 

Already how am I so far 

Out of that minute ? Must I go 
Still like the thistle-ball, no bar, 

Onward, whenever light winds blow. 
Fixed by no friendly star ? 

Just when I seemed about to learn I 
Where is the thread now ? Off again I 

The old trick I Only I discern — 
Infinite passion, and the pain 

Of finite hearts that yearn. 

MISCONCEPTIONS 

This is a sprav the Bird dung to. 

Making it blossom with pleasure. 

Ere the mgh tree-top she sprung to, 

Fit for her nest and her treasure. 

Oh, what a hope beyond measure 

Was the poor spray's, which the flying feet 

hung to, — 
So to be singled out, built in, and sung to I 

This is a heart the Queen leant on, 

Thrilled in a minute erratic. 
Ere the true bosom she bent on, 
Meet for love's regal dalmatic. 
Oh, what a fancy ecstatic 
Was the poor heart's, ere the wanderer went 

on— 
Love to be saved for it, proffered to, spent on ! 



A SERENADE AT THE VILLA 

That was I, you heard last night. 
When there rose no moon at all. 

Nor, to pierce the strained and tight 
Tent of heaven, a planet small : 

Life was dead and so was Ught. 

Not a twinkle from the fly. 
Not a glimmer from the worm ; 

When the crickets stopped their cry. 
When the owls f orebore a term. 

You heard music ; that was I. 

Earth turned in her sleep with pain. 

Sultrily suspired for proof : 
In at heaven and out again. 

Lightning I — where it broke the roof, 
BlocNdlike, some few drops of rain. 

What they could my words expressed, 

O my love, ray all, my one t 
Singing helped the verses best, 

Ajid when singing's best was done. 
To my lute I left the rest. 

So wore night ; the East was gray, 

White the broad-faced hemlock-flowers : 
There would be another day ; 



f 



T90 



DRAMATIC LYRICS 



Ere its first of heavy hours 
Found me, I had passed away. 

What became of all the hopes, 
Words and song and lute as well ? 

Say, this struck you — "" When life gropes 
Feebly for the path where fell 

Light last on the evening slopes, 

'^ One friend in that path shall be. 
To secure m^ step from wrong ; 
One to count mght day for me, 
^ Patient through the watches long. 
Serving most with none to see." 

Never sav — as something bodes — 
*^ So, the worst has yet a worse ! 

When life halts ^neath double loads. 
Better the task-master^s curse 

Than such music on the roads ! 

*^ When no moon succeeds the sun. 
Nor can pierce the midnight *s tent 

Anystar, tne smallest one, 
While some drops, where lightnii^ rent, 

Show the final storm b^iun — 



Cl 



tt 



When the fire-fly hides its spot, 
When the garden-voices fail 

In the darkness thick and hot, — 
^all another voice avail, 

That shape be where these are not ? 

Has some plague a longer lease. 
Proffering its help uncoudi ? 

Gan^t one even die m peace ? 
As one shuts one^s eyes on vouth. 

Is that face the last one sees r " 

Oh, how dark your villa was, 
Windows fast and obdurate ! 

How the garden grudged me grass 
Where I stood — the iron gate 

Cht>und its teeth to let me pass ! 

ONE WAY QF LOVE 



All June I bound the rose in sheaves. 
Now, rose bv rose, I strip the leaves 
And strew them where Pauline may pass. 
She will not turn aside ? Alas ! 
Let them lie. Suppose they die ? 
The chance was they might ti^e her eye. 

How^ manv a month I strove to suit 
These stubborn fingers to the lute I 
To-day I venture all I know. 
She will not hear my music ? So ! 
Break the string ; fold music's wing : 
Suppose Pauline had bade me sing I 

My whole life long I learned to love. 
This hour my utmost art I prove 
And speak my passion — heaven or hell ? 
She will not give roe heaven ? *T is well ! 
Lose who may — I still can say, 
Those who win heaven, blest are they I 



ANOTHER WAY OF LOVE 

Juke was not over 

Though past the full. 
And the best of her roses 
Had yet to blow. 
When a man I know 
(But shall not discover. 

Since ears are dull, 
And time discloses) 
Turned him and said with a man's true air. 
Half sighing a simle in a yawn, as 't were, — 
^' If I tire of your June, will she greatly care ? " 

Well, dear, in-doors with you I 

True I serene deadness 
Tries a man's temper. 
What 's in the blossom 
June wears on her bosom ? 
Can it clear scores with yon ? 
Sweetness and redness, 
Eadem semper ! 
Qo, let me care f6r it greatly or slightly I 
If June mend her bower now, your hand left 

unsightly 
By plucking the roses, — my Jnne will do 
rightly. 

And after, for pastime, 
If June be refulgent 
With flowers in completenesB, 
All petals, no prickles, 
Dehcious as trickles 
Of wine poured at mass-time, — 
And cnoose One indulgent 
^ To redness and sweetness : 
Or if, with experience of man and of spider, 
June use ray June-lightning, the strong insect- 

ridder, 
And stop the fresh film- work, — why, Jnne will 
consider. 



A PRETTY WOMAN 

That f awn-skin-dappled hair of hers. 

And the blue eye 

Dear and dewy, 
And that infantine fresh air of hers ! 

To think men cannot take yon. Sweet, 

And enfold you. 

Ay, and hold you. 
And so keep you what they make you. Sweet ! 

You like us for a glance, you know — 

For a word's sake 

Or a sword's sake, 
All 's the same, whate'er the chance, yon knoir. 

And in turn we make you ours, we say — 

Ton and youth too. 

Eyes and month too, 
All the face composed of flowers, we say. 

All 's our own, to make the most of. Sweet — 
Sing and say for, 



LIFE IN A LOVE 



191 



Watoh and pray for, 
Keep a secret or go boast of, Sweet I 

Bat for loving, why, yon would not, Sweet, 

Thoagn we prayed you, 

Paid yon, brayed yon 
In s mortar — for yon could not, Sweet ! 

So, we leave the sweet face fondly there : 

Be its beauty 

Its sole duty I 
Let an hope of grace beyond, lie there I 

And while the face lies quiet there. 

Who shall wonder 

That I ponder 
A eonclnsion ? I will try it there. 

Aa« —why must one, for the love foregone, 

Scout mere liking ? 

llinnder-strikii^ 
Earth, — the heayen, we looked above for, gone ! 

Why, with beauty, needs there money be. 

Love with likii^ ? 

Crush the fly-king 
In his gauze, because no honey-bee ? 

May not fiking be so simple-sweet. 

If love erew there 

T would undo there 
AH that breaks the cheek to dimples sweet ? 

Ib the creature too imperfect, say ? 

Would you mend it 

And so end it ? 
Snoe not all addition perfects aye ! 

Or is it of its kind, perhaps, 

Just perfection — 

Whence, rejection 
Of a grace not to its mind, perhaps ? 

ShaD we bom up, tread that face at once 

Into tinder, 

And so hinder 
Sparks from kindling all the place at once ? 

f 

Or else kiss away one^^s soul on her ? 

Your love-fancies ! 

— A sick man sees 
Traer, when his hot eyes roll on her I 

Urns the craftsman thinks to grace the rose, — 

Plucks a mould-flower 

For his gold flower, 
Uaes fine things that efface the rose : 

B«8y rabies make its cup more rose. 

Precious metals 

Ape the petals, — 
I^at, some old king locks it up, morose I 

^W how grace a rose ? I know a way I 

Leave it, rather. 

Most you gather ? 
o>ndl kiss, wear it — at last, throw away ! 



RESPECTABILITY 

Dbab, had the world in its caprice 
Deigned to proclaim ^^ I know you both. 
Have recognized your plighted troth. 

Am si>on8or tor jyou : live in peace I '* — 

How manv precious months and years 
Of youth had passed, that speed so fast. 
B efore we fo und it out at last. 

The world, and what It fears I' 

How much of priceless life were spent 
With men that every virtue decks. 
And women modek of their sex. 

Society's true ornament,^ — 

Ere we dared wander, nights like this. 
Through wind and rain, and watch the Seine, 
And feel the Boulevard break again 

To warmth and light and bliss ! 

I know I the world proscribes not love ; 

Allows my finger to caress ' '-" 

Your li^' contour and downiness, , ^ ^' \ 
Provided it supply a glove. iV I <»''•'- *■ ^ 

The world's good word t — the Institute I 

Guizofc receives Montalembert I 

£h ? Down the court three lampions flare : 
Put forward your best foot ! ^r . ^ 



LOVE IN A LIFE 

Room after room, 

I hunt the house through 

We inhabit together. 

Heart, fear nothing, for, heart, thou shalt find 
her — 

Next time, herself I — not the trouble behind 
her 

Left in the curtain, the couch's perfume ! 

As she brushed it, the cornice-wreath blos- 
somed anew : 

Yon looking-glass gleamed at the wave of her 
feather. 

Yet the day wears. 

And door succeeds ddbr ; 

I try the fresh fortune — 

Range the wide house from the wing to the 

centre. 
Still the same chance ! she goes out as I enter. 
Spend my whole day in the quest, — who cares ? 
But 'tis twilight, you see, — with such suites to 

explore. 
Such closets to search, such alcoves to impor* 

tune ! 



LIFE IN A LOVE 

Escape me ? 
Never — 
Beloved I 
While I am I, and you are you. 
So long as the world contains us both, 
Me the lovii^ and you the loth. 
While the one eludes, must the other pursue. 



192 



DRAMATIC LYRICS 



My life b a fault at last, I fear : ^ 
It seems too much like a fate, indeed I 
Thongh I do my best I shall scarce succeed. 

But what if I fail of my purpose here ? 

It is but to keep the nerves at strain. 
To diy one's eyes and lau^h at a fall. 

And baffled, get up and begm again, — 
So the chase takes up one's life, that 's all. 

While, look but once from your farthest bound 
At me so deen in the dust and dark. 

No sooner the old hope goes to ground 
Than a new one, stniight to the selfsame mark, 
I shi^M me — 
Ever 
RemoTcd I 



IN THREE DAYS 

So, I shall see her in three days 
And just one night, but nights are short. 
Then two long hours, and that is mom. 
See how I come, unonanged, unworn I 
Feel, where my life broke off from thine. 
How f reili the splinters keep and fine, — 
Only a touch and we combine I 

Too long, this time of year, the days I 
But nights, at least the nights are short. 
As night shows where her one moon is, 
A hand Vbreadth of pure light and bliss, 
So life's night gives my ladk birth 
And my eyes hold her I What is worth 
Tlie rest of heaven, the rest of earth ? 

O loaded curls, release your store 
Of warmth and scent, as once before 
The tingling hair did, lights and darks 
Outbreaking into fairy sparks,^ 
When under curl and curl I ^ried 
After the warmth and scent inside,^ 
Through lights and darks how manifold — 
The dark inspired, the light controlled ! 
As early Art embrowns the gold. 

What great fear, should one say, " Three days 

That change the world might cnauge as well 

Your fortune ; and if joy ufelays, 

Be happy t^at no worse befell ! " 

What small fear, if another says, 

*^ Three days and one short night beside 

May throw no shadow on your ways ; 

But years must teem with change unlaied. 

With chance not easily defied. 

With an ejid somewhere nndescried." 

No fear I — or if a fear be bom 

This minute, it dies out in soom. 

Fear ? I shall see her in three days 

And one night, now the nights ase short. 

Then just two hours, and that is mom. 



IN A YEAR 

Never any more, 

WhUellive, 
Need I hope to see his face 

As before. 



Once his love grown ohiU, 

Mine may strive : 
Bitterly we re-embraoe. 

Single stilL 

Was it something said, 

Something done. 
Vexed him ? Was it touch of hand. 

Turn of head ? 
Strange I that very way 

Love b^r<m: 
I as little understand 

Love's decay. 

When I sewed or drew, 

Irecall 
How he looked as if I sung, 

— Sweetly too. 
If I spoke a word, 

Firatofall 
Uphis cheek the color sprung, 

Then he heard. 

Sitting by my side. 

At my feet. 
So he breathed but air I breathed. 

Satisfied! 
I, too, at love's brim 

Touched the sweet : 
I would die if death bequeathed 

Sweet to him. 

" Speak, I love thee best I " 

He exclaimed : 
" Let thy love my own foretell I '* 
I confessed: 
Clasp my heart on thine 

Now unblamed. 
Since ui>on th^ soul as well 
Hangeth mme I " 

Was it wrong to own. 

Being truth ? 
W^ should all the giving prove 

His alone ? 
I had wealth and ease, 

Beauty, youth : 
Since my lover gave me love, 

I gave these. 

That was all I meant, 

— To be just, 

And the passion I had raised, "^ 

To content. 
Since he chose to change 

Gold for dust. 
If I gave him what he praised 

Was it strange ? 

Would he loved me yet, 

On and on. 
While I found some way undreamed 

— Paid my debt I 
Gave more fife and more. 

Till, all gone, 
He should smile " She never seemed 
Mine before. 



t( 



BEFORE 



193 



'' What, she felt the while. 
Must I think? 
Love *s BO different with va men ! ** 
He should smile : 
" Dyutjg: for mv sake — 
White and pink ! 
Can't we toucn these bnbhles then 
But they break?" 

Dear, the pang is brief, 

Do thy part, 
Have thy pleasure ! How perplexed 

Grows belief ! 
Well, this cold clay clod 

Was man's heart : 
Gmmble it, and what comes next ? 

IsHGod? 



WOMEN AND ROSES 

Written on the suggestion of some roses sent 
Mn. Browning. At the time of writing, 
Browning was carrying out a resolye to write a 
poem a day, a reeolTe which lasted a fortnight. 



I DKBAM of a red-rose tree. 
And which of its roses three 
Is the dearest rose to me ? 

II 

Bound and round, like a dance of snow 
la a dM7.Hng drift, as its guardians, go 
I'loating the women fadea for ages, 
Scnlptiired in stone, on the poet s pages. 
Iliea follow women fresh and gay, 
Lmn^ and loving and loved t^^fay, 
Lart, m ihe rear, flee the multitude of maidens, 
Beauties vet unborn. And all, to one cadence. 
They drcle their rose on my rose tree. 

Ill 

Bear rose, thy term is reached. 
Thy leaf hangs loose and bleached : 
Bees pass it unimpeached. 

IV 

Stay then, stoop, since I cannot climb, 
Too, great shapes of the antique time I 
How shall I fix you, fire yon, freeze you, 
Break my heart at your feet to please you ? 
Oh, to possess and be possessed I ^ 
Hearts that beat 'neath each pallid breast ! 



Ooee but of love, the poesy, tne passion 
Drink but once and die f — In vain, tl 



the same 



fashion, 
ihey cirele their rose on my rose tree. 

V 

1^ rose, thy joy 's undimmed, 

J^cnp is mby-rimmed, ^ 

T17 enp's heart nectar-brimmed. 



VI 



£x(. 



jL^Mp, as drops from a statue's plinth 
%kee socked in by ihe hyacinth. 



So will I burv me while burning. 
Quench like him at a plunge my yearning. 
Eyes in your eyes, lips on your lips ! 
Fold me fast where the cincture slips, 
Prison all my soul in eternities of pleasure, 
Girdle me for once ! But no — the cJd measure. 
They circle their rose on my rose tree. 

VII 

Dear rose without a thorn, 
Thy bud 's the babe unborn : 
first streak of a new mom. 

VIII 

Wings, lend wings for the cold, the clear ! 
What is far conquers what is near. 
Roses will bloom nor want beholders, 
Sprung from the dust where our flesh moulders. 
What shall arrive with the cycle's change ? 
A novel grace and a beauty strange. 
I will make an Eve, be the artist that began her. 
Shaped her to his mind I — Alas I in like man- 
ner 
They circle their rose on my rose tree. 



BEFORE 

Lbt them fight it out, friend ! things have gone 

too far. 
God must judge the conple : leave them as they 

are 
— Whichever one 's the guiltless, to his glory. 
And whichever one the guilt 's with, to my 

story I 

Why, yon would not bid men, sunk in such a 
slough, 

Strike no arm out further, stick and stink as 
now. 

Leaving right and wrong to settle the embroil- 
ment. 

Heaven with snaky hell, in torture and entoil- 
ment? 

Who's the culprit of them? How must he 

conceive 
God — the queen he caps to, laughing in his 

^ sleeve, 
" 'Tis but decent to profess one's self beneath 

her: 
Still, one must not be too much in earnest, 

either!" 

Better sin the whole sin, sure that God ob- 
serves ; 

Then go live his life out I Life will try his 
nerves, 

When the sky, which noticed all, makes no dis- 
closure. 

And the earth keeps up her terrible composure. 

Let him pace at pleasure, past the walls of rose. 
Pluck their fruits when grape-trees graze him 

as he goes! 
For he 'gins to guess the purpose of the garden, 
With the sly mute thing, beside there, for a 

warden. 



194 



DRAMATIC LYRICS 



What *s the leopard-dog^thing, oonstant at his 
side, 

A leer and lie in every eye of its obsequious hide? 

When ivill come an end to all the mock obei- 
sance. 

And the price api>ear that pays for the misf ea> 
sanoe? 

So^nch for the culprit. Who'*s the martyred 

man ? 
Let him bear one st3^)ke more, for be sure be can! 
He that strove thus evil's lump with good to 

leaven, 
Let him give his blood at last and get his 

heaven I 

All or nothing, stake it ! Trusts he Ood or no ? 
Thus far and no farther ? farther ? be it so ! 
Now, enough of your chicane of prudent pauses, 
Sage provisos, sub-intents and saving-clauses I 

Ah, "forgive" you bid him? While God's 

champion hves. 
Wrong shall be resisted : dead, why, he forgives. 
But you must not end my friend ere you begin 

him; 
Evil stands not crowned on earth, while breath 

is in him. 

Once more — Will the wronger, at this last of all. 
Dare to say, " I did wrong." rising in his fall ? 
No ? — Let go, then ! Both the fighters to their 

places I 
While I count three, step you back as many 

paces! 

AFTER 

Takb the cloak from his face, and at first 
Let the corpse do its worst ! 

. How he lies in his rights of a man ! 

Death has done all death can. 
And, absorbed in the new life he leads. 

He recks not, he heeds 
Nor his wrong nor my vengeance ; both strike 

On his senses alike, 
And are lost in the solenm and strange 

{Surprise of the change. 

Ha, what avails death to erase 

His offence, my disgrace ? 
I would we were bojrs as of old 

In the field, by the fold : 
His outrage, God's patience, man's scorn 

Were so easily borne ! 

I stand here now, he lies in his place : 
Cover the face 1 



THE GUARDIAN-ANGEL 

A PICTURE AT FANO 

Dkar and great Angel, wouldst thou only leave 
That chUd, when thou hast done with him, 
for me ! 



Let me sit all the day here, that when eve 

Shall find performed thy special mimstxy. 
And time come for departure, thou, suspend^. 
Thy flight, may'st see another child for tendiog. 
Another still, to quiet and retrieve. 

Then I shall feel thee step one step, no more. 
From where thou standest now, to where I 

— And suddenly my head ia covered o'er 
With those wings, white above the child who 
prays 
Now on that tomb — and I shall feel thee 

guarding 
Me, out of all the world ; for me, discarding 
Ton heaven thy home, that waits and opes its 
door. 

I would not look up thither past thy head 
Because the door opes, like that cmld, I know. 

For I should have thy gracious face instead. 
Thou bird of God I And wilt thou bend me 
low 

Like him, and lay, like his, my hands together. 

And lift them up to pray, and eently tether 
Me, as thy lamb there, with thy garment's 



spreaa? 



r 



I 



1 J 



If this was ever granted, I would remr^ 
My head beneath thine, while thy healing 
hands 
Close-covered both my e^es beside thy breast. 
Pressing the brain,, wmch too much thougnt 
-^ - expands, v***-' 
Back to its proper size again, and smoothing 
Distortion down till every nerve had soothing. 
And all lay quiet, happy and suppressed. 

How soon all worldly wrong would be repaired \ 
I think how I shotud view the earth and skies . 

And sea, when once ag^n my brow was bared 
After thy healing, with such different eyes. . il 

O world, as God has made it ! All is beauty rV 

And knowing this, is love, and love is duty. VJ' '^ 
What further may be sought for or declareo^ " 

Guercino drew this angel I saw teach > 

(Alfred, dear f riena !; — that little child to 

pray* . 

Holding the little hands up,^ each to each 
Pressed gently, — with his own head tamed 
away 
Over the earth where so much lay before him 
Of work to do, though heaven was opening o'^er 
him, ^ . . 

And he was left at Fano by the bea(^. 

We were at Fano, and three times we went 
To sit and see him in his chapel there. 

And drink his beauty to our soul's content 
— My angel with me too : and since I care 

For dear Guercino's fame (to which in. unwer 

And glory comes this picture for a doweii 
Fraught with a pathos so magnificent) ->~ 

And since he did not work thus earnestly 
At all times, and has else endured, some 
wrong — 



MASTER HUGUES OF SAXE-GOTHA 



I took one thonght his picture struck from 
me. 
And spread it oot^touislating it to song. 
My love is here. Where are von, dear old 

iriend? 
Hotr rolls the Wairoa at your world^s far end ? 
This is Ancona, yonder is the sea. 



MEMORABILIA 

Ah, did jon once see Shelley plaiA, 
Ajid did he stop and speak to yon. 

And did you speak to hun again ? 
How strange it seems and new ! 

But you were livii^ hef ore that. 
And also yon are living after ; 

And the memory I'started at — 
My starting movds your laughter ! 

I crossed a moor, with a name of ils own 
And a certain use in the world no douht, 

Yet a hand Vhreadth of it shines alone 
^Mid the blank miles round about : 

For there I picked up on the heather. 
And there I put inside my breast 

A moulted feather, an eagle-feather ! 
Well, I forget the rest. 



POPULARITY 

As the previous poem was an appreciation of 
Shelley, so this, of Keats. 



Stand still, true poet that you are I 
I know you ; let me try and draw you. 

Some nipfht you 11 fail us : when afar 
Yon rise, remember one man saw youk 

Knew you, and named a star ! t^ * ' r * 



V 



Mvstar, God's glow-worm ! Why extend 
That loving hand of his which leads you, 

Yet locks vou safe from end to end 
Of this dark world, unless he needs you, 

Jnst saves your light to spend ? 

His clenched hand shall unclose at last, 
I know, and let out all the beauty : 

My poet holds the future fast, 
Aet^pts the coming ages' duty, 

Their present for this past. 

That day, the earth's feast-master's brow \ 
Shall clear, to Grod the chalice raising ; » 

** Others give best at first, but thou i , •■' 
Fofever set^st our table praising, \ ^^^ 

Kjg^^th^lMd^i.^ now ! '^'^^ 

Meantime, 1 11 draw yon as yon stand. 
With few or none to watch and wonder : 

I H m — a fisher, on the sand 
^7 Tyre the old, witli ocean-plunder, 

A Mtfol, brought to land. 



1 






195 



Who has not heard how Tyrian shells .' . •-. '^ '^ \ 

Enclosed the blue, that dye of dyes 
Whereof one drop worked miracles. 

And colored like Astarte's eyes 
Raw silk the merchant sells ? 

And each b3rstander of them all ^ 

Could criticise, and quote tradition 
How depths of iSlne sublimed some pall 

— To get which, pricked a king's ambition f 
Worth sceptre, crown and ball. 

Yet there 's the dye, in that rough mesh. 
The sea has only just o'er-whispered ! 

Live whelks, each up's beard drippii^ fresh, 
As if they still the water's lisp newKl 

Through foam the rock-weeds thresh. 

Enough to furnish Solomon 

Suon hangings for his cedar-house. 
That, when gold-robed he took the throne 

In that abyss of blue, the Spouse 
Might swear his presence ^one 

Most like the centre-spike of gold 
Which burns deep in the bluebell's womb 

What time, with ardors manifold. 
The bee goes singing to her groom. 

Drunken and overbold. 



fo/i 



Mere oonchs I not fit foil warp or woof ! > 
Till cmining come to pound and squeeze 

And clarify, — refine to proof 
The liquor filtered by degrees. 

While the world stands aloof. 

And there 's the extract, fiasked and fine, 

And priced and salable at last ! 
And Hobba, Nobbs, Stokes and Nokes combine 

To naint the future from the pa^t. 
Put blue into their line. / '"' , <* « < ■ 

Hobbs hmts blue, — straight he turtle eats : 
Nobbs'fnittts blue, — claret crowns his cup : ,. 

Nokes outdares Stokes in aznre feats, — 
Both gorge. Who fished the murex up f 

What porridge had John Keats ? 



MASTER HUGUES OF SAXE-GOTHA 

Whomever Browning may have had in mind, 
there was no historical figure with this name 
and place. 

HiRT, but a word, fair and soft I 
Forth and be judged, Master Hugues I 

Answer the question I 've put you so oft : ^ 
What do vou mean by your mountainous 
fugues? ui ' \ . V*. '« .' 

See, we 're alone in the loft, — 

I, the poor organist here, 

Hugues, the composer of note. 
Dead though, and done with, this many a year : 

Let 's have a colloquy, something to quote. 
Make the world prick up its ear I 



/' 






196 



DRAMATIC LYRICS 



See. the chnreh empties apace : 

Fast they eztiiig^iiiBh the lights. 
Hallo there, sacristan I Five minntes' grace ! 

Here *s a crank pedal wants setting to rights. 
Balks one of holding the hase. 

See, oar huge house of the sounds, 

Hnshing its hundreds at once 
Bids the last loiterer back to his bonnds ! 

— O you may challenge them, not a response 
Get the church-saints on their rounds I 

(Saints go their rounds, who shall doubt ? 

— March, with the moon to admire. 

Up nave, down chancel, turn transept about. 
Supervise all betwixt pavement and spire, 
Put rats and mice to the rout — 

Aloys and Jurien and Just — 

Cnrder things back to their place^ 
Have a sharp eye lest the candlestioks rust. 

Rub the church-plate, dam Uie sacrament- 
lace. 
Clear the desk-velvet of dust.) 

Here 's your book, younger folks shelve I 

Played I not off-hand and runningly. 
Just now, your masterpiece, hard number 
twelve ? 
Here 's what should strike, could one handle 
it cunningly : 
Help the axe, give it a helve I 

Page after page as I played. 

Every bar^s rest where one wipes 
Sweat from one^s brow, I looked up and sur- 
veyed. 

O'er my three claviers, yon forest of pipes < 
Whence yon still peeped in the shade. 

Sure you were wishful to speak ? 

Ton, with brow ruled like a score, 
Yes, and eyes buried in pits on each cheek, 

Lake two great breves, as they wrote them 
of yore, 
Each side that bar, your straight beak ! 

Sure you said — " Good, the mere notes ! 

Still, couldst thoii take my intent, 
Know what procured me our Company's 
votes — 

A master were lauded and sciolists shent. 
Parted the sheep from the goats ! *' 

Well then, speak up, never flinch ! 

Quick, ere my candle *s a snuff 
— Burnt, do you see ? to its uttermost inch — 

/ believe in you, but that 's not enough : 
Give my conviction a clinch I 

first you deliver your phrase 

— Nothing propound, that I see, 

lit in itself for much blame or much praise — 

Answered no less, where no answer needs be ; 
Off start the Two on their wajrs. 

Straight must a Third interpose. 
Volunteer needlessly help ; 



In strikes a Fourth, a Fifth tlilhusts in his nose. 

So the CTv *s oi>en, the kennel 's a-yelp. 
Argument s hot to the close. 

One dissertates, he is candid ^ 

Two must discept, — has distinguished : 
Three helps the couple, if ever yet man did ; 

Four protests ; Five makes a dart at the 
thmg wished : 
Back to One, goes the case bandied. 

One says his say with a difference : 

More of expounding, explaL^ng ! 
All now is wrangle, imuse and vociferaace : 

Now there *s a truce, all 's subdued, self-re- 
straining: 
Five, though, stands out all the stiffer hence. 

One is incisive, corrosive ; 

Two retorts, nettled, curt, crepitant ; 
Three makes rejoinder, expansive, explosive ; 

Four overbears them all, strident and strepi- 
tant: 
Five . . . O Danaides, O Sieve ! 

Now, they ply axes and crowbars ; 

Now, they prick pins at a tissue 
Fine as a skem of the casuist Escobar's 

Worked on the bone of a lie. To what issue ? 
Where is our gain at the Two^bars ? 

Estfuga^ vclvitur rata. 

On we drift : where looms the dim port ? 
One, Two, Three, Four, Five, contribute their 
quota; 
Something is gained, if one caught but the 
imi>ort — 
Show it us, Hugues of Saxe-Gotha I 

What with affirming, den^png, 

Holding, rispostii^, subjoining. 
All 's like . . . it 's like . . . for an instance 
I 'm trying ... 
There ! ^ See our roof, its gilt moulding: «**A 
groining 
Under those spider-webs lying ! 

So your fugue broadens and thickens, 

Greatens and deejienB and lengthens. 
Till we^ exclaim — " But where 's music, the 
dickens ? " — -~ ^-""^ — ■ 

Blot ye the gold, while your spider-web 
strengthens 
— Blacked to the stoutest of tickens ? " 

I for man's effort am zealous : 
Prove me such censure unfounded ! 

Seems it surprising a lover grows jealous — 
Hopes H was for sometbang, his organ-pi 
sounded, 

Tiring three boys at the bellows ? 



organ-pipes 



Is it your moral of Life ? 

Such a web, simple and subtle. 
Weave we on earth here in impotent strife. 

Backward and forward each throwing h» 
shuttle. 
Death ending all with a knife ? 



THE RETURN OF THE DRUSES 



197 



Orer our heads tmth and natnire — 

S^ our life's z^zags and dodjg^es, 
Ins and oats, weavinff a^ new l^nslatnre — 

God*8 gola just snining its ^uat where that 

hSkd bencM^ man's lurarpatnre. 

So we o'erahrond stars and roses, 

Ckerab and trophy and gfarland ; 
NoUungs grow soniethingr whieh qnietly doeee 

Heaven^ earnest eye : not a glimpse of the 
far land 
Gets through onr oonoments and gloxes. 

AL bat traditions, inventions, 

^y we and maKe up a visage) 
So Bsnv men with sack varioos intentions, 
Down the past ages, most know more than this 

age! 
LesTe ve the web its dimensions I 

Who thinks Hagnes wrote for the deaf, 
Proved a mere mountain in labor ? 

Better sabmit ; try again ; what 's the clef ? 
'Faith, 'tts no tnfle for pipe and for tabor — 

Foot flats, the minor in F. 



Friend, ^oar fagae taxes the finger : 
Leammg it once, who would lose it ? 

Yet all the while a misgiving will linger. 
Troth's golden o'er us idthough we refuse 
it— 

Nature, through cobwebs we string her. 

Hugues I I advise med neend 
(Counterpoint fibres uke a Gkirgon) 

Bid One, Two, Three, Four, FTve, clear the 
arena! 
Say the word, straight I unstop the full or- 

Blare out the mode Palestnna^ 

While in the roof, if I 'm right there, 

. . . Lo you, the wick in the socket ! 
Hallo, you sacristan, show us a light there I 

Down it dips, gone like a rocket* 
What, you want, do you, to come unawares,^ 
Sweeping the church up for first morning- 
prayers. 
And find a poor devil has ended his oares^ 
At the foot of your rotten-runged rat-iiddled 
stairs? 
Do I carry the moon in my pocket? 



THE RETURN OF THE DRUSES 



A TRAGEDY 



QrigioaUy published as No. IV. of BelU and 
Pomegranates in 1843. The manuscript was 
fixst named Mansoor the Hierophant, 



PERSONS 

Ite Orand-Xasfeer's Prefect 
Tbe Patriarch's Nuncio. 
Ite RepabHc*8 Admiral. 
han DB Dbbox, Knighi-Noviee. 



Initiated Drosea — Djabal, Khalil, Avail, Maavi, 
Kabshook, Raohd^ Atoob, and others. 

Uninitiated Druaea, Prefect's Ouard, Nancio*8 Attend- 
ants, Admiral's Force. 

TlMB,14— . 

Flagb, An Idei of the Southern Sporade*^ colonized by 
Dnue* of Lebanon, and garrisoned by the KnightM- 
Ho^ntaUers of Rhodes. 

Sobbb, a Hall in the Prefects Palaoe, 



ACT I 

Xtter stealthily Kabshook, Raobib, Atoob, and other 
vUHated Drosea, each as he enters easting off a robe 
that eoneeals his distinctive black vest and white tur- 
tea ; then, as giving a loose to exultation, — 

KarAook, The moon is carried off in purple 
fire: 
Day hreaks at last ! Break glory, with the day. 
On Djahal's dread incarnate mystery 
^ov ready to resume its pristine shape 
Of Hakeem, as the Khahf vanished erst 
Is what seemed death to uninstmcted eyes. 
On Ted Mokattam^s verge — our Founder ^s flesh, 
Ai ke resumes our Founder^s function 1 

Ba^. —Death 

§weep to the Christiui Prefect that enslaved 
So long OS sad Druse exiles o^er the sea I 

-A^fosh. — Host joy be thine, O Mother-mount! 
Thy brood 



Returns to thee, no outcasts as we left. 

But thus — but thus! Behind, our Prefect^s 

corse ; 
Before, a presence like the morning — thine. 
Absolute Djabal late, —God Hakeem now 
That day breaks ! 

Kar. Off then, with disguise at last ! 

As from our forms thb hateful garb we strip, 
Lose every tongue its glozine accent too, 
Discard each limb the ignoble gesture ! Cry, 
'T is the Druse Nation, warders on our Mount 
Of the world's secret, since the birth of time, 
— No kindred slips, no offsets from thy stock. 
No spawn of Christians are we, Prefect, we 
Who rise . . . 

Ay, Who shout . . . 

Bagh. Who seize, a first-fruits, ha — 

Spoil of the spoiler ! Brave ! 
\Theu begin to tear down, and to dispute for, the deeora- 

HomstfthehalL 



igS 



THE RETURN OF THE DRUSES 



Hold! 



— Mine, I say; 



Kar, 

Ay, 
And mine shall it continue I 

Kar. Just this fringe ! 

Take anything beside ! Lo, spire on spire, 
Cnrl serpentwise -wreathed columns to the top 
O' the roof, and hide themselves mysteriously 
Amone the twinkling lights and darks that 

haunt 
Yon cornice I Where the huge veil, thev suspend 
Before the Prefect's chamber of delight, 
Floats wide, then falls again as if its slave. 
The scented air, took heart now, and anon 
Lost heart to buoy its breadths of gorgeous- 

ness 
Above the gloom they droop in — all the porch 
Is jewelled o*er with frostwork charactery ; 
And, see, yon eight-point cross of white flame, 

winking 
Hoar -silvery like some fresh -broke marble 

stone: 
Raze out the Rhodian cross there, so thou leav'st 

me 
This single fringe ! 

Ay, Ha, wouldst thou, doe-fox ? Help I 

— Three hand-breadths of gold fringe, my son 

was set 
To twist, the night he died I 

Kar, Nay, hear the knave ! 

And I could witness my one daughter borne, 
A week since, to the Prefect ^s couch, yet fold 
These arms, be mute, lest word of mine should 

mar 
Our Master^s work, delay the Prefect here 
A day, prevent his sailing hence for Rhodes — 
How know I else ? — Hear me denied my right 
By such a knave ! 
Ragh. [Interposing^'] Each ravage for him- 
self! 
Booty enough ! On, Druses I Be there found 
Blood and a heap behind us ; wf th us, Djabal 
Turned Hakeem ; and before us, Lebanon ! 
Yields the porch r Spare not I There his min- 
ions dragged 
Thy daughter, Karshook, to the Prefect^s 

couch ! 
AyoobI Thy son, to soothe the Prefect*s 

pride. 
Bent o^er that task, the death-sweat on his 

^ brow, 
Carving the spiceH;ree's heart in scroll-work 

there ! 
Onward in DjabaVs name ! 

{At the tumult u at height^ enter Khalq^ A pause and 

silence.) 

Khalil, Was it for this, 

Djabal hath summoned you? Deserve you 

thus 
Aportion in to-day^s event ? What, here — 
When most behoves your feet fall soft, your 

eyes 
Sink low, your tongrues lie still, — at Djabal's 

side. 
Close in his very hearing, who, perchance. 
Assumes e^en now God Hakeem^s dreaded 

shape, — 
Dispute you for these gauds ? 
Ay. How say^st thou, Khalil ? 



Doubtless our Master prompts thee I Take the 

fringe, 
Old Karshook ! I supposed it was a day . . . 

Kka, For pillage? 

Kar, Hearken, Khalil I Never spoke 

A boy so like a sone^-bird ; we avouch thee 
Prettiest of all our Master's instruments 
Except thy bright twin-sister ; thou and Anael 
Challenge his piime I'egard : but we may crave 
(Such nothings as we be) a portion too 
Of Djabal 's favor ; in him we believed. 
His bound ourselves, him moon by moon 

obeyed. 
Kept silence till this daybreak — so, may claim 
Reward : who grudges me my claim ? 

Ay, To-day 

Is not as yesterday ! 

Ragh. Standoff! 

Kha. Rebel yon? 

Must I, the delegate of Djabal, draw 
His wrath on you, the day of our Return ? 

Other Druses. Wrench from their grasp the 
fringe I Hounds ! must the earUi 
Vomit her plagues on us through thee ? — and 

thee? 
Plafirue me not, Khalil, for their fault I 

Kha, Oh, shame 1 

Thus breaks to-day on you, the mystic tribe 
Who, flying the approach of Osman, bore 
Our f aitn, a merest spark, from Syria's ridg«. 
Its birthplace, hither ! *^ Let the sea divide 
These hunters &om their prey," you said ; 

" and safe 
In this dim islet's virgin solitude 
Tend we our faith, the spark, till happier time 
Fan it to fire ; till Hakeem rise again. 
According to his word that, in the flesh 
Which faded on Mokattam ages since. 
He, at our extreme need, would interpose, 
And, reinstatine all in power and bliss. 
Lead us himself to Lebanon once more." 
Was 't not thus you departed years ago. 
Ere I was bom ? 

Druses, 'T was even thus, jeara a^. 

Kha. And did you call — (according to old 
laws 
Which bid us, lest the sacred grow profane. 
Assimilate ourselves in outward rites 
With strangers fortune makes our lords, and 

live 
As Christian with the Christian, Jew with Jew 
Druse only with the Druses) — did you call 
Or no, to stand 'twixt you and Osman's rage, 
(Mad to pursue e'en hither through the sea 
The remnant of our tribe,) a race self vowed 
To endless warfare with his hordes and him. 
The White-cross Ejiights of the adjacent Jaie ? 

Kar. And why else rend we down, wreodh 
up, rase out ? 
These Knights of Rhodes we thus solicited 
For help, bestowed on us a fiercer pest 
Than aught we fled — their Prefect ; who begaa 
His promised mere paternal governance. 
By a prompt massacre of all our Sheikhs 
Able to thwart the Order in its scheme 
Of crushing, with our nation's memory, 
Each chance of our return, and taming us 
Bondslaves to Rhodes forever — all, he thS»»lr« 



THE RETURN OF THE DRUSES 



199 



To end by this day's treason. 

Kka. Say I not ? 

Toa, fitted to the Order^s purposes, 
Your Sheikhs cat off, your rights, your garb 

proscribed. 
Must Yet receive one d^jadation more ; 
The Knights at last throw off the mask — 

transfer. 
As tributary now and appanage. 
This islet they are but protectors of, 
To their own ever-craving liege, the Church, 
Who licenses ail crimes that pay her thus. 
Ton, ficora their Prefect, were to be consigned 
(PazBuant of I know not what vile pact) 
To the Knights' Patriarch, ardent to outvie 
His predecessor in all wickedness. 
When suddenly rose Djabal in the midst, 
Djabal, tibe man in semblance, but our (}od 
Confeaeed by signs and portents. Ye saw fire 
Bicker round Diabal, heard strange music flit 
Bird-like about his brow ? 

Dntaes. We saw — we heard I 

Diabal is Hakeem, the incarnate Dread, 
The phantasm Khalif, King of Prodigies ! 
K£a. And as he said has not our Khalif 

done. 
And so disposed events (from land to land 
Passing invisibly) that when, this mom. 
The pact of villany complete, there comes 
Iliis Patriarch's Nuncio with this Master's 

Prefect 
Their treason to consummate, — ^each will face 
For a crouching handful, an uplifted nation ; 
For simulated Christians, confessed Druses ; 
And, for slaves past hope of the Mother-mount, 
Freedmen returning there 'neath Venice' flag ; 
That Venice which, the Hospitallers' foe. 
Grants us from Candia escort home at price 
Of our relinquished isle, Rhodes counts her 

own — 
Venioe, whose promised argosies should stand 
Toward harbor : is it now that you, and you. 
And you, selected from the rest to bear 
The burden of the Khalif 's secret, further 
To-day's event, entitled by your wrongs. 
And witness in the Prefect's hall his fate — 
That yon dare clutch these gauds ? Ay, drop 

them! 
Ear. True, 

Most true, all this ; and yet, mav one dare hint. 
Thou art the youngest of us? — though em- 
ployed 
Abonaantly as Djabal's confidant, 
Trsosmitter of his mandates, even now. 
Mseh less, whene'er beside him Anael graces 
The <»dar throne, his queen-bride, art thou like 
Ts occupy its lowest step that day I 
Now, Knalil, wert thou checked as thou aspir- 

est. 
Forbidden such or such an honor, — say, 
Woold silence serve so amply ? 

Kka. Karshook thinks 

I eoret honors ? Well, nor idly thinks I 
HoBots ? 1 have demanded of them all 
The^;reate8t! 
Ear. I supposed so. 

IQo. Judge, yourselves ! 

^^>ia« thus : 't is in the alcove at the back 



Of yonder columned i>orch, whose entrance now 
The veil hides, that our Prefect holds his state. 
Receives the Nuncio, when the one, from 

Rhodes, 
The other lands from Syria ; there they meet. 
Now, I have sued with earnest prayers . . . 

Kar, For what 

Shall the Bride's brother vainly sue ? 

Kha, That niine — 

Avenging in one blow a myriad wrongs 

— Might be the hand to slay the Prefect there ! 
DjahMEU reserves that office for himself. 

lA silence. 

Thus far, as youngest of yon all, I speak 

— iScarce more enlightened than yourselves; 

since, near 
As I approach him, nearer ss I trust 
ISoon to approach our Master, he reveals 
Only the God's power, not the glory yet. 
Therefore I reasoned with you : now, as servant 
To DjabaJ, bearing his authority, 
Hear me appoint your several posts I Till noon 
None see him save myself and Anael : once 
The deed achieved, our Khalif, casting off 
The embodied Awe's tremendous mystery. 
The weakness of the flesh disguise, resumes 
His proper glory, ne'er to fade again. 

{Enter a Dnue.) 

The Dnue. Our Prefect lands from Rhodes ! 
— without a sign 
That he suspects augnt since he left our Isle ; 
Nor in his train a single guard beyond 
The few he sailed with hence: so have we 

learned 
From Loys. 

Kar. Loys ? Is not Lojrs gone 

Foreve» ? 

Ay. Loys* the Frank Knight, returned ? 

Tne Druse. Loys, the boy, stood on the 
leading prow 
Conspicuous in his gay attire, and leapt 
Into the surf the foremost. Since day-dawn 
I kept watch to the Northward ; take but note 
Of my poor vigilance to Djabal 1 

Kha. Peace! 

Thou, Karshook, with thy company, receive 
The Prefect as appointed : see, all keep 
The wonted show of servitude : announce 
His entry here by the accustomed peal 
Of trumpets, then await the further pleasure 
Of Diabal ! (Loys back, whom Djabal sent 
To Rhodes that we might spare the single Knight 

Worth sparing !) 

\Enter a teeond Dmra.) 

The Druse. I espied it first I Say, I 

First spied the Nuncio's galley from the South ! 
Said'st thon a Crossed-keys' nag would flap the 

mast ? 
It nears apace I One galley and no more. 
If Djabal chance to ask who spied the flag, 
Forget not, I it was ! 

Kha. Thou, Ayoob, bring 

The Nuncio and his followers hither ! Break 

One rule prescribed, ye wither in your blood. 

Die at your fault I 

[ErUer a third Druae.) 

The Druse. I shall see home, see home ! 

— Shall buiquet in the sombre groves again 1 



200 



THE RETURN OF THE DRUSES 



Hail to thee, Khalil ! Veoioe looms afar ; 
The argosies of Venioe, like a dond, 
Bear up from C^mdia in the distanoe I 

Kha. Joy I 

Summon our people, Raghib I Bid all forth I 
Tell them the long^kept secret, old and jroung I 
Set free the captive, let the trampled raise 
Their faces &om the dost, because at length 
The cycle is complete, God Hakeem's reign 
Begins anew ! Say, Vemce for our guard. 
Ere night we steer for Syria I Hear yon. Druses ? 
Hear you this crowning witness to the claims 
Of Djabal ? Oh, I spoke of hope and fear, 
Reward and punishment, because he bade 
Who has the right : for me. what should I say 
But, mar not those imperial lineaments. 
No majesty of ail that rapt regard 
Vex by the least omission ! Let him rise 
Without a check from you I 

Druses. Let Pjabal rise I 

(Enter Lotb. — The Draaes are silent.) 

Leys. Who speaks of Djabal ? — for I seek 

him^friends I 
[Aside.] Tu Dieu ! 'T is as our Isle broke o